December 11, 2012 - 6:01 PM
Cactus Jacks Saloon got a thumbs up today from Kamloops councillors to expand its liquor licence to 625 people from 495 effective April, 2013.
The decision came in accordance with provincial liquor licensing regulations stating that council must comment on the proposal.
Kamloops RCMP wanted the nightclub, which already held the largest liquor license in the city, to have a clean slate for one year before supporting the application, and council agreed.
"We're not opposed to the increase, we are just asking for a clear record for a period of time," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Darren Michaels.
The City allowed nightclub owners to seek community input regarding the expansion, Nov. 20. Upon returning to council chambers, the only opposition came from a neighbouring Japanese restaurant, Sanbiki Restaurant, located directly beside the nightclub.
Masato Kotani and Heather McDonald cited noise and vandalism as reasons why they would not support the expansion.
"We are concerned that more people and more events may result in more problems," they wrote in a letter to council.
The recommendation to council was to not approve the license.
A meeting between RCMP, City staff and liquor licensing inspectors clarified terms for any future capacity increases to the nightclub including: shuttles returning patrons to the university at closing time, more staff for closing time, sidewalk barricades, technological surveillance, increased lighting outside and a revised Good Neighbour agreement addressing previously mentioned issues.
The nightclub's lawyer, Dennis Coates, said council's approval was in the best interest of the city, noting that owners have complied with several of council's requests.
He said the demographic of the nightclub could change if the capacity increased, noting that the intention by owners is to create a live venue similar to Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom.
"I really like the proposed changes you're suggesting," said Coun. Nancy Bepple.
Councillor Tina Lange was the sole councillor who voted against supporting the expanded liquor license.
She noted that the owners did not support the expansion of the now closed Rivers Nightclub that had similar reasons for wanting more patrons.
Coates said the difference between the two cases came down to the owners.
"None of the operators at Rivers have been particularly good," he said.
Lange showed concern over a monopoly by giving more patrons to the already largest bar in Kamloops.
"By taking out the license from Rivers, we sort of give Cactus Jacks the monopoly on large clubs downtown," Lange said.
Having been a downtown business owner, Lange said she is aware of the noise problem by nightclubs in the area.
"It's not so much the noise inside the building, it's the people when they come out," she said. "We are trying to attract more tourists to the downtown core. I don't want to increase that noise."
With council's approval, the nightclub must also uphold several other demands including the relinquishment of a 245-seat liquor license purchased by the owners for the recently closed down Rivers Nightclub.
— Jessica Wallace
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012