4 more liquor outlets on P.E.I sought by province

·2 min read
If the province adds four more liquor stores, P.E.I. will have 30 retail liquor outlets.  (CBC News - image credit)
If the province adds four more liquor stores, P.E.I. will have 30 retail liquor outlets. (CBC News - image credit)

Prince Edward Island may soon have four more liquor stores known as "agency" stores.

Agency stores, like Mel's in East Royalty or Cooper's Red and White in Belfast, are operated privately by third parties, generally in areas where no other liquor stores are close by.

The province has now issued a request for proposals for four more such stores across P.E.I.

"We take a look at trends in population, we look at how close a new liquor agency could be to one of our corporate retail outlets or close to an agency that's operating now," said Heather Rossiter, director of corporate affairs and regulatory services with the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission.

"We often get phone calls from the public asking if there's any chance that one that might open in their area."

P.E.I. now has 26 liquor outlets

The province's request for proposals is seeking operators in four areas:

  • Bothwell (east of Souris).

  • Crapaud, Desable or Hampton.

  • Hampshire or North Wiltshire.

  • Brackley Beach or Oyster Bed Bridge.

The Island already has eight agency stores in Wood Islands, Murray Harbour, Morell, Kinkora, Eldon, East Royalty, Wellington and Cavendish. The province also runs 18 of its own corporate stores. Breweries and distilleries across P.E.I. also sell their products. The addition of four more stores would bring P.E.I.'s total to 30.

Proposals will be accepted for the new stores until August 1. The province expects to announce the successful applicants by the end of August and hopes the stores will be in operation by mid-October.

"Anybody really can apply," Rossiter said. She said the commission will look at what other products a potential retailer offer. The business does not have to be operational right away, she added.

Balancing access with need

Rossiter said proposals must consider zoning and include support from the surrounding community.

"We do want to know that a store would be appropriate for that area," she said.

Inspections are done regularly at both agency and commission stores, she said, to ensure staff are asking for identification and not serving intoxicated customers.

"You could argue that more ready access could provide challenges, but we stand behind the responsible sale of alcohol," Rossiter said.

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