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Council says no to bars in convenience stores

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter

Oshawa City Council is fighting to ensure a bar doesn’t end up at 711 stores.

Council is sending a letter of objection to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission opposing the application by the 711 corporation for a licence to allow for the addition of a bar at 61 of its convenience stores across the province, including one in Oshawa at 245 Wentworth St. W.

“I can tell you I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never seen an application for a licence with such a potential for negativity in a local community,” says Councillor Brian Nicholson. “What we’re talking about is placing a bar inside a convenience store and that people will be sitting and drinking right next to your children.”

He notes the location of this 711 store, located at the corner of Wentworth Street West and Cedar Street, is just north of a plaza with restaurants and laundry mats, as well as a shopping centre with a restaurant and a beer store to the west.

Nicholson adds the store is located in a high density area with a number of apartment buildings in the area and a school down the road.

“You couldn’t design a worse possible place for adding a bar,” he adds, noting the city has worked hard to improve this stretch of road.

“This would be a step backwards by the community.”

Councillor John Gray agreed with Nicholson, noting it makes no sense.

“Let’s keep the bars as bars. It doesn’t make sense to me that you can spike your slurpy. That is just a dumb idea,” he says.

Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri says he’s glad council is on board with this, noting it’s important that council get ahead of the curb on this.

“Anyone that’s travelled across Europe recognizes this is a model that exists there and maybe that’s where it came from but I don’t know if we’re ready for this and I don’t think it fits the kind of outlook for a small convenience store setting,” he says.

However, council doesn’t just oppose the application by the 711 corporation, they’re opposed to all applications in variety stores.

“I think this motion is right on, but let’s be proactive and decide now that it’s not just good in 711 – it’s not good in any convenience store,” says Councillor and Deputy Mayor Bob Chapman.