Cars pass the rezoning sign at the site of the former KnockanBack Grill

A sign of the changing times

Former Interurban restaurant space slated to become new liquor store

The intersection where Wilkinson and Interurban roads meet Hastings Street has a notorious reputation as a bottleneck for commuters. But that same corner was also known for nearly a decade because of the restaurant with the peculiar name: the KnockanBack Grill.

The 254-square-metre restaurant has sat empty for months.

The location – former home of The Tin Whistle and the Fox and Hound pubs –is now slated to become a liquor establishment of another kind.

A rezoning application is currently in the works at Saanich to put a Cascadia Liquor Store into the vacant space.

Gordon Fry, president of the Strawberry Vale Residents’ Association, says the economy is going to dictate what thrives and survives in that prime location.

“The new liquor laws just put a kiss of death to (the KnockanBack),” he said.  “We don’t have any liquor stores nearby. … I don’t know if I’d say (the area is) under-serviced, but a liquor store there will probably make money. It’s one of those economic realities that the liquor stores do good in bad times.”

The News couldn’t reach the former owner of KnockanBack, but when we spoke with employees there in 2010 – two months after B.C.’s new liquor laws were implemented – they said the new rules had caused business to fall off almost 20 per cent.

Marlene Todd, president of the Residents Association of Strawberry Vale, Marigold and Glanford, says she wants to see Cascadia Liquor’s parent company, The Truffles Group, get the community more involved in the rezoning process.

“I have mixed feelings. Apparently they had a community meeting … and only one person showed up,” she said. “Our board is waiting to endorse something until we get more input from them, and we get the feel of the community.”

Saanich local area planner Chuck Bell said the site is currently zoned as C-2 (General Commercial), but council will need to approve the change to C-2LRS (Liquor Retail).

There is no set date, as of yet, for when the rezoning application will come before council.

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