7-Eleven Canada has been given the go-ahead to sell beverage alcohol in a dine-in section of its Hamilton, Ont. stores.
Hamilton's City Council initially opposed the move and in April formally objected, arguing beverage alcohol consumption at convenience stores in suburban neighbourhoods "didn't serve the community’s best interests."
However, according to The Hamilton Spectator, the Licence Appeal Tribunal ruled against that position last month and granted liquor licences to two local 7-Elevens — a gas station and convenience store at 415 Melvin Ave., and a convenience store at 622 Upper Wellington St.
"Having considered the evidence and submissions of the parties, I direct the Registrar to issue a licence to the Appellant, 7-Eleven Canada Inc.," adjudicator Geoff Pollock wrote in a decision released Sept. 29, adding the city’s evidence didn't convince him that the licences wouldn’t be in the public interest, “particularly given that I have found that (7-Eleven’s) proposal contains appropriate safeguards for ensuring safe alcohol sales.”
7-Eleven is permitted to sell beverage alcohol to dine-in customers in bordered off sections of the stores, however this does not include sales for takeout or delivery.
According to the Spectator, "7-Eleven told the tribunal the sections, described as restaurant areas, will consist of a mix of high and low tables that sit a maximum of 10 people. Alcohol will be kept behind the counter and served at the table by staff who’ve received their Smart Serve training."
Beyond to asking the tribunal to reject the liquor licences, the city wanted to impose conditions on the 7-Eleven stores, such as "limiting the sale of alcohol from 4 to 11 p.m., erecting a physical barrier to separate licensed and unlicensed areas, posting signage around the store with a phone number where customers could lodge complaints and installing a video security system."
However, the tribunal granted the store on Upper Wellington a licence without conditions, while ruling the one on Melvin Avenue — which sits behind a row of backyards and near an elementary school — must place a sign near its exit reminding patrons to be respectful of the neighbours, install security cameras outside and install signage with detail about how to register complaints.
This article was first published in Convenience Store News.