Two London politicians say they will oppose an application by a 7-Eleven convenience store near Western University to offer in-store alcohol sales because the idea raises serious safety concerns for students.
In February, 7-Eleven announced plans to apply to the province for licences to allow in-store beer and wine sales at 61 locations in the province. If granted, the licences would allow the sale, service and consumption of alcohol inside the stores only. Take-out of alcohol would not be permitted.
In London, the company applied to licences at three locations:
- 1076 Commissioners Rd.
- 72 Wharncliffe Rd. N..
- 1181 Western Rd.
London NDP MPP Terence Kernaghan and Coun. Mariam Hamou issued a statement Tuesday saying they’re strongly opposed to the Western Road location. Much of their opposition was based on its location right next to Western’s campus and the off-campus residences of thousands of students. The London and District Labour Council is also opposed to allowing alcohol sales at that location.
“To me, it’s a proximity issue,” Hamou told CBC News. “We don’t want alcohol in and around that area specifically because of the tensions and safety issues we’ve had in the past. There’s no real oversight from anyone on campus there. That, for me, is an issue.”
She points out that an 18-year-old Western student died at that location following an assault last September. Combine that with Western’s reputation for problematic off-campus partying and Hamou said adding an alcohol vendor near Western just isn’t worth the risk.
She’s also worried it could make more work for the city’s already busy police and paramedics.
A complicated process
Applications to allow alcohol sales at London 7-Eleven stores will be heard by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Information about the London applications was posted during a public notice period, which ended in March.
In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for the AGCO confirmed that, so far, no licences have been issued to 7-Eleven locations in London.
Due to the high public interest in the applications, the AGCO elected to issue what is called a Notice of Proposal (NOP) to closely review each of the 61 applications 7-Eleven filed province-wide.
The NOP process is separate from the AGCO licensing process, and essentially amounts to a higher level of scrutiny. The company has appealed the province’s move to use the NOP process at all three London locations to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT).
Here’s an update on those applications at London 7-Elevens:
- 1076 Commissioners Rd.| The LAT hearing of the application concluded on June 21 and the province is waiting for the LAT decision.
- 72 Wharncliffe Rd. N. | The LAT issued a decision, ordering the AGCO registrar to issue the licence without conditions. However, that approval is pending an inspection by London fire, bylaw and health departments.
- 1181 Western Rd. | The LAT hearing of this application starts this Friday. Hearings are open to the public. [email protected] to get the video hearing details.
Calls for comment from the 7-Eleven company were not returned Thursday.
In its statement to CBC News, AGCO staff say licence holders, in this case 7-Eleven, have to follow strict rules and regulations. For example, they can’t serve alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated or underage.