'Sour grapes' fuelling liquor store debate, Lutes says
NB Liquor president says Hanwell agency store process was open and transparent
The Moncton businessman at the centre of a controversy over an NB Liquor agency store in Hanwell says the matter is being blown out of proportion.
Jason Lutes said he was planning to build a convenience store in the area before the call for applications from NB Liquor for an agency store.
Lutes’s plan won over two local stores and the Moncton businessman said he thinks it all may be a case of sour grapes.
"I'd say it's mainly due to one certain person. I find a lot of it seems to be coming from one competitor," Lutes said.
Lutes also denies he was awarded the agency store contract because of any political connections.
Lutes’s Power Plus Technology won the right to build the agency store next to the Trans-Canada Highway near Hanwell, along with a gas bar and convenience store.
The Moncton company beat out Scholten’s Convenience Store and Hanwell Village Mart for the agency store.
A public meeting was held in Hanwell on Monday to discuss the agency store decision.
About 120 people showed up to the meeting and many were opposed to NB Liquor’s awarding of the agency store to Power Plus Technology.
Daniel Allain, the president of NB Liquor, said the Crown corporation formed an internal agency store task force to review the expansion of the agency store network.
Allain said the decision to create the task force was intended to guarantee an "open and transparent process."
"These people were to guide the expansion of the retail network and make sure they would oversee the analyzing and approving of all store locations," Allain said.
"There are a lot of myths and ... half truths coming out. I hope in the [coming] days I will have the opportunity to tell Hanwell residents and New Brunswickers what really happened in the past year, culminating in what we have here today."
Allain said there is no connection between he and Lutes, who won the contract.