Liquor review creates lots of interest
Liquor, or changes to government regulations, definitely was a hot-button topic for the BC public as more than 76,255 people logged into the Liquor Policy Review website to voice their opinions.
Parliamentary Secretary John Yap said the consultation process saw an nprecedented level of engagement with the public, stakeholders and industry groups.
“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in our Liquor Policy Review through the blog, Twitter, direct emails, letters or sitting down to speak directly with me,” Yap said in a prepared statement.
“Every submission was thoughtful and informative. Now it’s my job to sit down to do the hard work of looking at all the input to find recommendations that will improve our laws and grow the economy while keeping health and safety concerns in mind.”
After seven weeks of being live, the Liquor Policy Review website saw 76,255 visits, had 4,364 blog comments and 41,195 ratings.
The average time spent on the website per visitor was just over eight minutes, showing a high level of interaction with the site’s content. The average amount of time typically spent on a B.C. government website is approximately five minutes.
While the comments are now closed, the site will remain active so British Columbians can continue to review the Liquor 101 content, blogs, comments, and stakeholder submissions.
During the 87-day consultation phase, Yap held 65 face-to-face meetings with diverse stakeholders throughout the province and engaged with thousands of British Columbians on the website and through social media.
He also received more than 3,587 private emails and letters and 188 stakeholder submissions for public posting. Between Sept. 14 and Oct. 31, Yap himself tweeted 552 times and #bcliquor was mentioned on Twitter 4,892 times.
Over the next few weeks, as Yap prepares his final report, the B.C. government will more closely examine the idea of allowing the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores by studying a number of retail models in other jurisdictions.
This information and all liquor policy review feedback will then be gathered and analyzed leading up to the end of November.
The final report will include recommendations for making common-sense changes that reflect current lifestyles in a way that achieves a responsible balance between greater consumer convenience, growing our economy and protecting public health and safety.
- The final days of the consultation saw a surge in participation with more than 19,000 site visits, 2,200 blog comments, and 2,100 emails between Oct. 28 and Oct. 31.
- Every blog comment, email, letter and tweet has been collected and is being analyzed for themes, sentiment and ideas.
The top themes as of 4 p.m. on Oct. 31 were:
- How liquor is sold in stores in B.C. including at grocery stores, private and government stores.
- Comparing B.C. with jurisdictions around the world.
- How liquor is regulated in B.C.
- Rules for licensed restaurants and pubs.
- How liquor is priced in the province – from minimum pricing to lowering the cost of alcohol.
- Concerns about public health and safety.
- 64 per cent of visitors to the site contributed in some way, from rating posts to commenting on blogs to sending a private email.
- The number of blog comments (4,364) surpassed the number of private emails (3,567) received.
- There were a total of 65 stakeholder meetings, and more than 188 stakeholder submissions posted to the web site. This includes more than 100 licensee submissions.
- The most popular stakeholder submission downloads were:
- BC Wine Institute
- Victoria Police Department
- Of those who identified themselves on the blog, the most popular age category of blog contributors was 30-59; regionally we heard from all parts of the province, with the majority of contributors from the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and Thompson-Okanagan.
- For context, the web poll component of the Family Day website gathered a total of 31,146 votes, along with 3,069 comments.
- During the Skills for BC discussion, more than 52,000 visitors went to the BC Jobs Plan website. 500 British Columbians contributed to the discussion and almost 200 ideas were submitted.