Regional Directors gave third reading on Oct. 12 to a bylaw that will permit an artisan craft distillery to operate on a rural Porter Road property in Roberts Creek.
About 25 area residents attended a public hearing on Sept. 12, and 11 written submissions were received by the SCRD. Although neighbours expressed concerns about some aspects of the proposed distillery, none completely opposed it, according to Senior Planner Yuli Siao.
Staff therefore recommended to the planning and community development committee that approval be given under the conditions that a pull-out area be constructed on the south side of Porter Road, the owner acquire a provincial water licence for the industrial use of water, and that the tasting/retail room not operate earlier than 10am or later than 7pm.
Roberts Creek Director Mark Lebbell, speaking in support of the distillery, noted that it will be a very small scale operation with a tasting limit of about three tablespoons.
“Its indoor tasting only in a room that is 18 square metres, which is smaller than a director’s office, with a size limit of eight people,” said Lebbell. “And the prohibition of third party events does a lot to address any concerns around noise and disruption.”
Lebbell also described the road pull-out as “a valuable community asset”.
Siao, in his introduction to the bylaw said: “This type of small scale low impact development can integrate well into the rural landscape, and help to strengthen the local economy and sustain a unique lifestyle on the Sunshine Coast.”
Lebbell concurred, noting that the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan (OCP) supports small scale industrial and commercial activity in rural areas, and that local products will be used. In their application, the proponents said they will try to use local agricultural ingredients such as grains, fruits and honey.
An amendment to the OCP was required because the bylaw did not recognize distilleries as a permitted use on a rural property.