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Kelowna’s Energyplex wants to add alcohol sales

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August 25, 2020 - 7:30 AM

While already billing itself as a “Family Fun Centre For All Ages,” Kelowna’s Energyplex wants to become more attractive to a larger audience by expanding operation into the evenings and selling alcoholic drinks.

“It is our strong belief the gymnastics area with trampolines, airbag and inflatable obstacle course are not part of a sustainable future for our business,” owner Erik Brouwer wrote in a letter accompanying an application to the City of Kelowna to obtain a liquor licence. “We think that Kelowna needs more entertainment for adults and students. It is our goal to create an entertainment centre that is attractive to all ages and various markets (local, tourism, corporate) from small to large groups.”

The application, according to a note in a City current developments email, is to allow liquor sales from 10 a.m. to midnight seven days per week but to still allow children to be present.

Brouwer's letter says it wants to extend hours on Thursdays through Sundays to 11 p.m. Currently, Energyplex operates from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, closing on Sundays.

It features things like a four-level cube playground, play gym, rock climbing, Ballistix Ball shooting, laser tag and an arcade.

The business was launched in 2008. The letter says the company was not profitable for its first three years but changed direction in 2011 and had increased revenues by 180 per cent by mid-2018.

Last year, the increase in minimum wages cut into profitability, insurance costs tripled from $25,000 a year in 2018 to $75,000 last year and there was fallout from a CBC Market Place documentary in October 2018 about the dangers of trampoline parks, Brouwer wrote.

Then, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the business to temporarily close in mid-March of this year.

“The proposed changes will provide great value to the community,” Brouwer wrote. “First of all, it will create a social gathering place for all ages and for different purpose visits. It will add to the value of McCurdy Corner as an entertainment hub. We also feel there are not many active facilities for all ages. With our new concept we anticipate that adults as well as parents with older children, as well as corporate events, will come to the Energyplex to have a great time together."

The intent is to renovate the existing main floor gymnastics area and convert it into a bar, lounge and arcade area. The lounge will have seating for 60 people with room for another 60 in the arcade.

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