It’s frustrating and disappointing.
That’s what Adam Mills told the Optimist this week, saying Four Winds Brewing Company is considering its options following Delta council’s rejection of a proposal to build a craft brewery and 200-seat restaurant in the commercial component of the Southlands development.
The proposal would have seen the brewery and eatery housed in a 30,000-square-foot building on the Tsawwassen property. It would have contained the brewing and bottling components of the operation, while the warehousing and distribution would have been handled at an industrial location elsewhere.
Mills, the sales and marketing director at Four Winds, said the 4-3 council vote came as a surprise.
“It was a bit of a shock and we kind of expected it to work out. We put so much energy, time and investment into it. We are definitely going to look at our options and work with Century Group and the City of Delta to see if there’s a way we can come up with a resolution or alternative plan,” he said.
“We also have to weigh options whether or not the Southlands is the right fit for us because, certainly, a production facility is what we do need, but we also want to do a restaurant. We would like to have them combined, if possible.”
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The application, which had been the subject of a public hearing last month, was defeated at the April 8 council meeting with Mayor George Harvie casting the deciding vote, saying the proposed uses were not consistent with the original vision for the Southlands.
Mills said it’s frustrating the mayor’s sentiment wasn’t conveyed earlier in the process, before the application had gone all the way to a public hearing.
“That part is very frustrating and we completely disagree that is doesn’t fit with the original vision for the Southlands,” said Mills. “Some people are hanging on to the idea it should be a smaller brew pub type of facility. We weren’t around when the very early vision for the Southlands came together but the original plan that was conveyed to us by Century (Group) was that they wanted agriculture-related makers and producers down there that actually use the land and showcase that.”
Four Winds issued a statement on social media on April 17, saying, “We spent four years passionately developing our dream with Century Group, taking input from members of city staff. We believed that we had designed a facility that would have not only suited the original vision for the Southlands, it would have been a tremendous complement to the community we are proud to have grown up in; the community in which we are now raising our own families.”
Providing a breakdown on the scale of the proposal, noting the entire operation, including brewery, would have been approximately 27,000 square feet, roughly the size of Thrifty Foods in Tsawwassen, the company states the rejection is a major setback.
“The current zoning will allow a brewpub in Southlands. Although we will consider this option, a full craft brewing facility with an attached restaurant is our main priority. We want nothing more than to stay in Delta and share in the unique nature of the Southlands project. However, we need to do what is best for our business, our 45 employees and their families by considering all our options,” the statement reads.
Century Group president Sean Hodgins said he would meet with Four Winds, but he’s not sure at this point what could be next, or even when he’ll have a better idea what could transpire.
Coun. Dylan Kruger, who voted in favour of the project, reiterated his sport for the company, saying, “I remain hopeful that working with the city, we can still find a way to get to yes on this project. We need to keep this great local company in Delta.”