May 22, 2013 - 4:10 PM
Martin Street resident wants less, not more, nightclub hours
A Penticton woman says her plea to curb late-night noise on Martin Street has fallen on deaf ears.
Martin Street resident Vicki Ashman says city council hasn't done enough to prevent people from making noise after downtown clubs close in the wee hours of the morning. She was at Tuesday's council meeting protesting The Mule's request to permanently change their business hours.
Mule manager Steve Parker wants the site open from 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday to Sunday. Right now the club is open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Parker said there is less tourist traffic these days and more hours means more chances to make money.
Parker said more open hours will also mean more chances to hold one-time or once-a-year events, such as a wedding anniversary or a World Cup soccer viewing session.
Businesses typically make 16 alterations to their operating hours per year. The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch cut it to six days a year. Parker had said the LCLB recommended he permanently change the Mule's hours. Council approved the request which will now be forwarded to the LCLB for final approval.
Parker said he heard what Ashman was saying.
"It's tough. These (apartments) are in the entertainment district."
He said Opal, the downtown's new nightclub, will help steer foot traffic away from Martin Street.
Ashman doesn't oppose the club opening earlier in the day. She wants clubs on Martin Street to close earlier at night. She explained her neighbourhood is considered to be the most active but also the most dangerous. "None of you live down there and don't hang around there from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m."
Intoxicated people who leave the bars on weekends make enough noise to keep her and other residents up at night. "For six miniscule hours we can expect some peace."
She said preventing more open hours or curbing existing ones will not hurt tourism, which only represents a small slice of the city's revenue.
"We can pick and choose our tourists. There is not a lot of good activity that comes out of heavy drinking."
She said the RCMP are stressed for resources and can do little to help curb noise. She alleges the police direct residents with noise complaints to the city but then the city would re-direct residents back to the RCMP.
She said she was denied RCMP activity information for Martin Street due to a confidentiality agreement the police have with the city.
Coun. Wesley Hopkin said that is not the case. The police make regular reports to council and those records will be made available to Ashman.
A 10-year employee of the Mule said extended hours are good. People will be filtering out of the club over a longer period and more hours mean employees, some of them post-secondary students, can earn more money.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013