WHITE ROCK - The Sandpiper Pub will be opening its doors to a few more customers from now on following the provincial approval of an increase in the pub's capacity.
The decision follows White Rock council's deferral of making the decision in July, as Coun. Bill Lawrence is a co-owner of the establishment. At that time, council was looking to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, hence the deferral to the provincial liquor board.
And while the pub had been hit with penalties in the past for being overcapacity, co-owner Judy Baker said that's all water under the bridge now.
"Our whole staff and everybody involved, our patrons and workers, we're absolutely ecstatic," said Baker. "The ambiance changes, the tone of the business changes, the hours for our staff and everyone changes."
Prior to the increase, the Sandpiper could only seat a maximum of 65 customers at any one time. Now the pub can fit 115, which will hopefully eliminate the need for lineups, said Baker.
"We don't have to have lineups anymore," she said. "We would usually have 20 to 30 people waiting outside in the rain, snow or sunshine, waiting to get in to a place that holds 120 comfortably, but can only seat 65 with the licence it had."
The capacity increase is something that the pub's owners have been seeking for years and Baker noted that even the establishment's previous owners had attempted to get the capacity increased, with little success.
"We've been trying to increase the capacity for 18 years and the predecessors as well, so it's been an ongoing thing for at least 22 years," she said. "We've been trying to get this licence changed for the fire code and what happens is that we've been waiting and waiting and waiting. Now our delivery people can come in, our cleaning crew can come in more frequently, it just affects a lot of people."
The Sandpiper Pub was temporarily shut down in January following the suspension of its licence as a result of overcrowding in the summer of 2012. Later in the year, the pub's licence was again suspended, this time for incidents surrounding an intoxicated patron. However, Baker said those incidents are all in the past and now she's looking forward to being able to serve more customers than ever.
"We're so thankful to our customers and our wonderful patrons who stood by us and supported us through these somewhat challenging times to wait for this decision, we thank them for their support," she said.
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