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Vancouver brewery told to remove nearly decade-old mural due to bylaw violations


One of Vancouver’s oldest breweries is set to undergo a makeover—but it’s not by choice.

The team behind Storm Brewing says it’s been notified by the city that it must remove a mural that’s decorated the business at 310 Commercial Dr. for nearly a decade, due to bylaw violations.

In a social media post Wednesday, the brewery encouraged patrons to stop by for a visit over the next month “to take one more photo with pals or a selfie with this iconic part of our brewery’s history.”

“From wedding photos, engagement photos, birthday photos and more—we appreciate every single person who’s posed here with family and friends,” Storm wrote online.

In response, many people questioned which bylaws, exactly, the mural violates.

“We were informed there were several mural/sign bylaws we are in violation of, including the size of the name of our business and ‘advertising’ by having beer/ beer production displayed on the mural,” the brewery explained in the comments.

Six weeks ago, the brewery was informed that they needed a permit for the mural, even though it had been there for years.

During the application process, the company was told the art didn’t have the right look.

“I assume the City of Vancouver has too much money and too much time on its hands,” said owner James Walton.

The social media post caught the attention of Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung, who says she’s “looking into this.”

“Might be time to tweak city bylaws,” the councillor responded on Instagram.

The following day, Coun. Peter Meiszner also spoke out about the city-issued order.

“Considering this mural has been up for a decade at least—this is ridiculous. Looking into it,” Meiszner wrote on Twitter.

Speaking to CTV News on Thursday, both Meiszner and Kirby-Yung expressed shock over learning about the fate of the mural, which is subject to the city’s sign bylaw due to the fact that it displays a business name. They’re also perplexed as to why a bylaw officer is only taking issue with the long-standing mural now, and have reached out to the city manager to understand the motive.

“Of course we don’t want to have advertising plastered across the city, but that’s not what this is,” said Kirby-Yung in a Zoom interview. “if you’re a local business and you’re promoting yourself in a fun and creative way, my hope is that we can look at changing this bylaw so that we’re not taking away something that people have enjoyed for 10 years.”

Meiszner says he was just admiring the mural on Sunday, when he went to Storm Brewing’s outdoor craft market with a friend.

“It’s iconic. It’s part of Vancouver’s history and the craft brewery scene so we need to do what we can to preserve that,” Meiszner told CTV News.

Last Friday, the City of Vancouver announced the launch of a hospitality sector working group. According to a statement, the group’s goals are to “identify, adjust, and eliminate red tape that present challenges to business in the sector.”

Kirby-Yung says issue with Storm Brewing’s mural is a “prime example” of that red tape.

“We’re looking to identify—within the industry, through the hospitality task force—what we can modernise and address and fix that’s causing people angst and driving people crazy, quite frankly, when they’re trying to run a small business,” she said.

On top of supporting small businesses, Kirby-Yung points to the importance of encouraging local artists.

“We are literally erasing fun in the city,” she said. “It’s about supporting local artists and saying we welcome and we want that creativity in that public realm.”

While it could take some time, Meiszner and Kirby-Yung both say they’re committed to unwinding outdated policies as they become aware of them.

“We’re going to do everything we can to give (Storm) a reprieve. I don’t want to see them take this mural down, that seems ridiculous to me,” said Meiszner.

The pair plan to address the mural issue during a city council meeting next Tuesday. Top Stories

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