Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit March 17, 2017 - 8:30 am

Iqaluit diner’s liquor licence pitch breezes past public hearing

Small Iqalungmiut audience supports Snack’s proposal to serve beer

PETER VARGA
Snack co-owners Danny Savard, centre, and Michel Gilbert and Alexandre Croteau were happy, if not surprised, after city residents showed complete support for their application to serve beer at their restaurant in a public hearing held March 16. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)
Snack co-owners Danny Savard, centre, and Michel Gilbert and Alexandre Croteau were happy, if not surprised, after city residents showed complete support for their application to serve beer at their restaurant in a public hearing held March 16. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)

The Snack prides itself on being a casual family restaurant, and the Iqaluit residents who turned up at a Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board hearing March 16 didn’t think adding beer to the menu would change a thing.

Seven of 15 to 20 residents who showed up to give their opinion on the owner’s application for a licence to serve beer at the diner told the liquor board they support the restaurant owners’ application.

No one in the audience expressed disapproval.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said one resident. “I think three beers [per customer] is not over the top. I support their license.”

The man’s comment echoed those of other supporters at the public hearing, held to give the public a say on the restaurant’s application for a license to serve three beers per customer.

The Snack’s three owners, Danny Savard, Michel Gilbert and Alex Croteau, submitted their application last December.

The dining room license would allow customers to add an order of beer with food.

No members of the public had any questions for the three owners.

Liquor board member Terry Dobbin, also a city councillor, said a lot of families with kids might be reluctant to go to the Snack if alcohol were served there.

“How do you respond to that?” Dobbin asked.

“We do not want to serve more than three beers” per customer, Savard replied.

“I’ve been to other restaurants where there’s kids, for example the Navigator, the Frobisher Inn and the Discovery, and children are allowed.”

Another worry Dobbin said he heard from the general public concerns the Snack’s delivery service.

“People are thinking there might be alcohol delivered along with their pizza,” Dobbin said. “Again, how do you respond to that?”

“Well, that would be illegal, for a start,” Savard replied. “It’s against the law. There is no license available to deliver alcohol.”

Board members said they will rule on the permit within days, possibly as early as the following day, March 17.

Savard and his two co-owners purchased the restaurant, which dates back to the 1980s, last summer from Nelson Soucy.

Savard and Gilbert also co-own Upper Base Garage Ltd., and Gilbert owns the Nunavut Tuktu Caribou Cabs taxi service with Croteau.

The Government of Nunavut’s pilot project to open a beer and wine store in Iqaluit this year is what prompted the Snack’s owners to apply for the license, Savard said.

“I mean, you will get a case of beer at the store. Why can’t you come by my restaurant and have a couple of beers?” Savard said after the consultation.

“A lot of people like to have a couple of beers with their meal.”

The Snack’s application is specifically for a “dining room license” for the sale and consumption of liquor in a public dining room, according to the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board’s codes.

Savard admitted he expected more of a two-sided audience at the public consultation, for and against.

“To be honest, if we were backing up the clock 10 years, it would have been more of an obstacle, and you’d have more people probably against the idea,” he said.

The licensing board invited Iqaluit residents to submit written comments for the application by March 3, which will also factor into their decision on the permit.

If granted, the restaurant will have to hire employees who have experience serving alcohol, Savard said, and conform to liquor laws that limit beer orders to between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

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