A new public consultation process will allow Coquitlam residents to have their say on liquor licence applications that come before the city.
The move allows for a similar process to be undertaken in the event an existing licence holder wants to make permanent changes to that license.
Previously, the city had the option to enact one of two policies: comment on applications from a municipal perspective, or opt out and let the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) conduct its own process. A report prepared by the city clerk's office noted the city has always opted for the former, over the course of the last five years.
The LCLB only seeks local government input on applications for a food-primary licence when the licensee applies for patron-participation entertainment - dine and dance or karaoke, for example - or an extension of liquor service past midnight.
"These [businesses], actually, are the face of our community in our downtown areas and I think that it's very important to me that I know when a restaurant is applying for a liquor licence or applying to change their liquor licence," said Coun. Mae Reid.
Reid was particularly concerned with newer residents in the City Centre who may be caught off guard by businesses asking for extended hours.
"[Residents] think it might be just a little tea shop or something, and then all of a sudden they find out that it gets a liquor licence and it becomes a happy place until midnight or 1 o'clock."
Coun. Lou Sekora was also wary of businesses asking for more.
"What concerns me is the pubs are asking for extended licences or for extended capacities," he said.