NB Liquor reviewing agency store policies, Higgs says
Justice Paulette Garnett ruled awarding of Hanwell agency store contract 'inadequate and unfair'
Finance Minister Blaine Higgs is asking NB Liquor to review its procedures after a Court of Queen’s Bench judge struck down the awarding of a contract for an agency liquor store near Fredericton.
The ruling quashed the awarding of an agency store licence to a Moncton-based company that is building a new gas station on Hanwell Road.
Justice Paulette Garnett ruled on May 1 that NB Liquor's review procedure for those contesting a decision was "inadequate and unfair" and quashed the Crown corporation's awarding of the Hanwell agency store to Power Plus Technology Inc.
Higgs said he has asked Brian Harriman, the chief executive officer of NB Liquor, to review the judge’s ruling and make sure the Crown corporation's procedures are solid.
"My goal, as it has been before, is that I want to be sure it's a fair and equitable process,” he said.
“There is no justification or rationalization to be anything but. I'll be the first one to be disappointed in any other option because it's not acceptable."
Higgs would not rule out an appeal of the decision.
Chris Scholten, the owner of Scholten’s Hanwell Ltd., who asked for the judicial review after his agency store application was rejected, said last week he hoped the entire process would be reconsidered.
If NB Liquor wants to start the whole process over again, he will reapply, he said.
Scholten contends the agency store should be awarded to a local company.