ALC blocks restaurant, banquet space at coming Oliver mega-winery

Setback for mega-winery

The B.C. Agricultural Land Commission has delivered a significant setback to an Oliver-area mega-winery preparing to open this spring.

The ALC has rejected a non-farm-use application by Phantom Creek Estates for a fine-dining restaurant and banquet space inside the winery’s massive four-story, 78,000 square-foot complex set to open to the public in April.

“The addition of a restaurant, combined with the other anticipated value-added services on the property, would extend beyond the intent of providing farmers with value-added services which are secondary to the farming operation,” said the ALC in a unanimous ruling on Oct. 17. 

The proposed 4,800 square-foot banquet space would include three rooms, a VIP lounge and three separate patio spaces, while the 5,700 square-foot fine-dining restaurant was proposed to be located on the third floor of the building.

A 2,200 square-foot indoor/outdoor food and beverage lounge planned for the complex did not require approval of the ALC, but factored into the agency's decision to block the banquet facility.

“In addition, the panel finds that the potential cumulative impact of the additional guests, traffic and noise associated with hosting large events may cause conflict with neighbouring residences and agricultural users in the area,” the ALC said.

A spokesperson for Phantom Creek Estates did not respond to requests for comment on the winery’s plans for the already-constructed restaurant and banquet space now that the ALC has blocked their intended use. The winery does have an option to launch an appeal.

The winery, which will be one of the region's largest when it opens, is owned by Richter Bai, a Richmond-based Chinese immigrant. 

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