By Dale Boyd
Updated: 1:45 p.m. Nov. 8 — The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) of B.C. has denied an application for a fine dining restaurant at Phantom Creek Estates winery.
The massive 78,000 square foot winery located on Black Sage Road is set for its grand opening in April 2020.
Phantom Creek applied to establish a 529 square meter fine dining restaurant on the third floor of the wine production facility, and a 450 square meter banquet facility with three banquet rooms, a VIP lounge and three patio spaces.
The property will already host two food and beverage lounge spaces which do not need approval from the ALC.
“The Panel is not amenable to supporting an additional event space,” the decision states.
In the ruling issued Oct. 17, the ALC rejected the non-farm use of the property.
“While the panel appreciates the applicant’s effort to minimize the impact to agricultural land by proposing to locate the restaurant above an existing structure, the primary purpose of ALR land is for agricultural use,” the decision states. “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.”
The winery still has permits to operate an indoor-outdoor lounge including a restaurant, but the ALC decided to object further uses of the same building.
“We do have permits to operate an indoor-outdoor lounge which is what we will use for the restaurant. So what this ruling of the ALC means is there are a few other uses we intended to have for the building, in addition to a tasting room and restaurant, and of course with this ruling as it stands today we won’t be able to do some of those things we were looking to do,” said Santiago Cilley, CEO of Phantom Creek Estates.
The winery has the ability to appeal the ALC’s decision, but Cilley would not say whether they will pursue one.
“We are looking at our options at this point, it is a complex matter, so we are looking at our options,” Cilley said.
The winery founded by Richmond-based Richter Bai announced the appointment of Cilley as chief executive officer, and Francis Hutt as winemaker in September.