City council has decided to support a local restaurant owner’s application to extend its hours of alcohol service to 2 a.m. despite the RCMP’s opposition to such a licence change.
Evan van Dyk opened Wings Tap & Grill this winter, part of a small B.C. franchise, and is asking provincial alcohol sales regulators for an extension of its liquor sales hours to enhance late night eating and drinking options in what is currently a rather vacant nightlife landscape.
The new sports bar is in the Skeena Mall, with the entrance facing out into the mall’s parking lot.
The B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch asked city council for its opinion and council, in turn, asked the local RCMP detachment for its opinion.
RCMP Staff Sergeant Syd Lecky was at the April 11 council meeting, and he reiterated the RCMP’s previous stance that having a bar serving past 1 a.m. would overly tax the small late-night detachment complement that already has its hands full with late night calls.
Lecky said that although he believes van Dyk would be responsible, the business has yet to establish a track record.
“And the track record outside of Wings isn’t very good,” Lecky added of the downtown area, citing the Spirit Night Club on the corner of Lakelse and Emerson that shut down a few years ago.
Late at night past closing time is when call volume rises, he said, including a spike in domestic calls.
“It’s what happens when it’s vacated,” Lecky told council of establishments opened until the early hours.
In response to the police worries about overburdening, councillor James Cordeiro told Lecky that perhaps the problem is lack of late-night police staffing resources.
“They need to be maybe looking at the complement or the detachment whether it’s adequate or not,” said Cordeiro.
Councillor Lynne Christiansen, on the other hand, said she thinks the RCMP knows best and she takes their opinion seriously.
For this reason, she was opposed to granting an extended licence to Wings.
Councillor Brian Downie wondered about the possibility of a trial period, but was informed that a limited licence isn’t available.
That prompted councillor Michael Prevost to call for provincial legislative reform but mayor Carol Leclerc said such a proposition was beyond the scope of the current discussion.
Christiansen was the only councillor to vote against council’s endorsement of the extended hours application.
That endorsement is now being sent to provincial regulators for their consideration.
Lecky said he would respect council’s final decision.