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Vancouver theatre runs down curtain on section of BC's outdated liquor laws

VANCOUVER - An East Vancouver movie theatre has landed the winning punch in a David and Goliath battle that pitted the theatre's future against B.C.'s antiquated liquor licensing laws.

Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman, who is also responsible for liquor and gaming regulations, says liquor licences are becoming more flexible.

Effective immediately, licence holders can screen films or broadcast pay-per-view programs outside the hours granted in their licence, although they can't serve liquor during movies.

Vancouver's Rio Theatre launched its dispute with liquor regulators in January when the theatre earned a liquor licence as part of its drive to become a part-time venue for concerts.

Rio Theatre owner Corrine Lea discovered the new licence wiped out her ability to show movies, forcing her to lay off five staff members and lose about $40,000 when the Rio had to back out of a film festival.

NDP jobs critic Jenny Kwan and other Vancouver theatre owners backed Lea in her demand for immediate changes to the liquor rules.

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