A move to add a restaurant inside a winery is being backed by City of Richmond staff.
The Lulu Island Winery wants to add the food and beverage service, but must first ask permission from the city.
However, the Westminster Highway winery is sited within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and, even if city council does follow the staff approval recommendation, Lulu Island must then seek the backing of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
Although city staff say having a restaurant on the farm-based winery would be permitted, they add that the 3,542 sq ft space must not be used as a banquet hall.
One of the regulations specifically states that any indoor food and beverage area within a winery must be "ancillary" to the wine-making and must not exceed 125 square metres — which equates roughly to 65 people
The winery has only been open for three years, but has come to the attention of the city several times amid claims it was hosting functions contrary to what is permitted for businesses sited on ALR land.
Bearing in mind concerns that Lulu Island Winery is too big at 22,260 sq ft, a bylaw amendment presented Tuesday to city council’s planning committee aims to restrict the size of future wineries to 10,764 square feet.
Lulu Island Winery — located between No. 7 and 8 roads — hogged the headlines for a time in the run-up to the 2010 Games when it was attempting to host China House and up 250 Chinese Olympic athletes.
The winery was totally unaware its business was subject to strict ALC rules surrounding activities outside of farming.
Despite objections from the surrounding farming community, the winery managed to satisfy the ALC and the city and went on to host China House.