Brews News: Craft beer controversy brewing in Stanley Park

Stanley Park Brewing is opening a $4.5 million brewery restaurant in the former Fish House space, but some local residents are worried about the impact on a local heron colony. Contributed photo

AB InBev-owned Stanley Park Brewing is opening a $4.5 million brick-and-mortar brewery restaurant in the old Fish House building in Stanley Park later this year, but in true Vancouver fashion, some local residents are up in arms.

Despite the building having been used as a restaurant since the 1940s, a group calling themselves the Stanley Park Advocates believe that noise from the brewery restaurant will harm a nearby urban heron colony.

“The main difference for the herons is the nighttime noise, not the daytime disruption,” said the group in a press release on Tuesday. “Up until now, they generally have the quiet of the evening. The Fish House was a quiet place that closed early. The proposed venue differs in operating hours, usage and purpose.”

However, biologists with the park say the brewery poses no threat to the heron colony, and that activity in the building might actually help it.

“Nesting herons are tolerant of urban activities once the colony settles in,” said Park Board biologist Nick Page in a press release on Monday. “The Stanley Park nesting colony co-exists with constant use of the surrounding area by people, dogs, tennis, lawn mowing and other park recreation and maintenance activities. In fact, some heron colonies benefit from urban locations because human use can reduce eagle predation on eggs and chicks.”

According to the City of Vancouver, there will be no change to the building footprint in the new restaurant and the outdoor decks will remain in their current locations.

Stanley Park Brewing is making renovations to the building and installing a small batch brewery intended to sell beer on-site through the restaurant and a growler fill station. Production of Stanley Park Brewing’s packaged beer products will continue to be carried out at Turning Point Brewery on Annacis Island, in Delta.

“I am confident that we can deliver a restaurant at this historic location in a way that is completely consistent with our mission and mandate to protect and preserve parks and green space in the City of Vancouver,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Our partners at the Stanley Park Ecology Society have reassured our Board that the magnificent Pacific Great Blue heron colony at 2099 Beach Avenue will not be harmed by the careful and continuing use of this space as a restaurant.”