BROOKFIELD - Residents in Brookfield may one day be able to shop for beer, wine and spirits without leaving the community.
© The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan
Brookfield has been granted approval for an NSLC agency store.
The rural South Colchester village is one of seven across the province to be approved to host a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation's (NSLC) agency store.
"What happens first is we identify communities that are best suited for this type of framework and it's up to individuals or entrepreneurs in the area to submit an RFP (request for proposals)," said Mike Maloney, of the NSLC. "At the end of the day, we've identified the communities that we feel would work, but still a large portion depends on the success of the RFP."
Other communities to receive approval are East Bay/Ben Eoin area, Cape Breton Regional Municipality; Cape North area, Victoria County; Port Bickerton area, Guysborough County; Peggy's Cove area, Halifax Regional Municipality; Centreville area, Digby County and Concession area, Digby County.
The NSLC will issue requests for proposals this week for these areas and award agency stores to successful applicants.
Geoff Stewart, Colchester County Coun. and Brookfield businessman, said he was "surprised" by the announcement and had "mixed feelings."
He explained with NSLC stores in Truro and Stewiacke, about 15 kilometres in either direction from the village centre, and an agency store in Upper Stewiacke, that it was surprising Brookfield made the list for an agency store.
"I don't believe it's going to be a major economic driver for any business that is going to apply and subsequently be awarded the contract," he said.
He also voiced concerns about increased access to alcohol.
"There's licensed establishments in the community now, I guess that's a sign of the times," said the councillor. "Alcohol is fairly readily available now, so if people want it they are going to get it. I just don't want to see any problems related to it increase, and hopefully that won't be the situation."
Agency stores are local businesses, which are authorized to sell a selection of alcoholic beverages in rural areas. They adhere to the same standards as NSLC corporation stores.
The first eight agency stores opened in 2001. There are presently 51 agency stores operating in co-ops, general and convenience stores and markets across the province.