Sidney brewing up economic opportunity

Town to add craft distillery to the list of allowable uses of commercial property.

A change in a Sidney municipal bylaw boils down to a simple oversight.

At council’s March 9 meeting, Councillor Peter Wainwright introduced a change to a commercial zoning bylaw that would allow craft distilleries in the Town of Sidney.

“We realized that Sidney’s current zoning bylaw doesn’t allow for those,” he said.

Wainwright added the issue was raised during a discussion between himself, Mayor Steve Price and Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble.

“It’s an economic development issue,” Wainwright said. “It reflects the changing of minds around craft breweries and distilleries.”

The current zoning bylaw in Sidney does allow for brew pubs, but not craft distilleries, said Humble. The proposed change would simply add the term “craft distillery” to the number of permitted uses on commercially-zoned property.

Wainwright added the new definition would also add terms like “assembly hall” and “food or beverage manufacturing” to allow such businesses to not only create their product, but sell it and serve it in-house.

“What’s the difference between a brew pub and craft distillery (in this case)?” asked Coun. Tim Chad.

Humble said pubs have food or restaurant components attached to the current bylaw.

“This is a bylaw to allow the craft distillery option,” he explained.

“Some development areas didn’t include the brew pub component either,” Wainwright added.

“This is a way to make sure it’s mentioned now.”

Council unanimously agreed to start the process to change the bylaw. It now goes to a public hearing.