It took longer than they wanted, but the Mounties finally got their can.
Bottle, tap and keg, too.
Hops and grapes can legally flow at the RCMP’s new, billion-dollar British Columbia headquarters tucked amid Surrey’s Green Timbers forest (and its mighty redwood, the larch, the fir, the mighty Scots pine).
|RCMP's $1 billion new B.C. digs (Bird.ca)
In June 2012, I revealed how the federal force applied for a liquor licence for a private, on-site bar. The public reaction stemming from the blog post was no surprise. There had been too much bad publicity about cops and booze, from the justice-obstructing ex-Cpl. Benjamin “Monty” Robinson to the detachment-drinking, subordinate-seducing Sgt. Don Ray.
Surrey City Council gave thumbs down to the full-time bar, but recommended the RCMP be eligible for special events permits only. In April 2013, the RCMP said it filed a new application directly to the provincial government.
Last week, I confirmed that B.C.'s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch issued licence number 305469 to the Mounties on June 17.
“The RCMP followed the same process as anyone else, and had to apply for a new licence because their new HQ is in a different community (i.e., from Vancouver to Surrey),” said an LCLB representative on the condition of anonymity. “Minors, other than professional entertainers, are not permitted within the licensed area(s) unless approved by the LCLB.”
The licence allows liquor service from noon to midnight for a maximum capacity of 535. The original application was for a maximum 1,198 from 11 a.m. to midnight, Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen claims the RCMP will use it sparingly.
“The RCMP has made it clear that there will be no general usage or regular hours in the facility – it will only be used for pre-approved private special functions, such as formal Regimental Dinners, memorial services, levees, and veteran functions and other traditional events,” Vermeulen said. “In the absence of special events or functions, the facility will be used for general meetings, gatherings and ceremonies and alcohol will be prohibited during these instances.”
Vermeulen said liquor has been served just four times since June 17 at a Vancouver Vets Fall Dinner meeting, an Officers’ Cops Against Cancer fundraising dinner and two bartender training sessions.
“The room has also been used 65 times for scheduled meetings, training sessions, town halls, etc. where a large room was required (no liquor service whatsoever),” Vermeulen said. “The room has also been used numerous times (unscheduled) by groups looking for a meeting room on an impromptu basis (again, no liquor service).”
Vermeulen said RCMP members’ dues fund the mess, not government.
Const. Laughing Leadfoot
Meanwhile, the RCMP has confirmed that the cop found guilty of speeding through a North Vancouver speed trap was on-duty at the time of the Valentine's Day infraction.
Const. Michael Milo Arbulic drove his personal vehicle 60 km-h above the posted 80 km-h speed limit on the Upper Levels Highway around 1 a.m. on Feb. 14. Police chased him for five kilometres and caught up with him in West Vancouver. He wasn’t ticketed nor was his car impounded, on-the-spot penalties for those found speeding 40 km-h above the limit.
Judge Steven Merrick imposed a $483 excessive speed fine plus $210, what he would’ve been charged for the impound. Arbulic was a no-show in North Vancouver Provincial Court on Sept. 17; defence lawyer David Butcher appeared on his behalf but refused outside the court to say whether the RCMP paid the legal bill.
Besides confirming Arbulic was in his own vehicle, Insp. Ed Boettcher told me that the RCMP did not pay his legal bill. “Members have options to contribute to a legal fund and access that fund when necessary,” Boettcher said.
Arbulic, 38, is subject to a Code of Conduct investigation. “Internal discipline is subject to the Privacy Act and is only a matter of public record if it goes to a formal disciplinary hearing," Boettcher said.
Arbulic’s driving record includes speeding tickets from July 1998, January 2000 and July 2004. The latter was for excessive speed. Arbulic was one of several cops around B.C. recognized by BCAA, ICBC and the parents of Alexa Middlaer for citing a dozen or more drivers for impaired driving.