Proposed comedy club forced to find another location

A local comedy club will no longer be opening its doors in James Bay after neighbours expressed concern about the impact it could have.

A local comedy club will no longer be opening its doors in James Bay after neighbours expressed concern about the impact it could have on the community.

Owners and Fernwood residents David Wilcox and Yona Robidoux-Depue hoped to open a Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club on the ground floor of the Q apartment building (665 Douglas St.), formerly Samuel’s Dining Lounge.

The couple submitted an application seeking support from the City of Victoria for a primary liquor licence in the summer, which would allow the comedy club to serve liquor from noon to 10:30 p.m., seven days a week.

Final approval for the liquor license is granted by the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.

However, councillors voted not to support the application, after several neighbours expressed concerns about potential increased traffic and noise.

Marg Gardiner, president of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association, said the proposed location is already congested with buses and neighbourhood traffic.

“The noise and traffic issues in that area are just horrendous. It would have been really negative for the people that live there,” said Gardiner, adding dozens of residents spoke out against the proposed comedy club at a recent neighbourhood association meeting. “I think Yuk Yuk’s would be a great contribution to the city, but it should be in the entertainment district between Chinatown and Humboldt.”

Jeff Silverman, president of Yuk Yuk’s, said they have 16 licenses across the country and have never had a problem with noise.

“We’re not a bar, we’re not the type of place where people have fist fights inside or outside, and yell and scream. They laugh inside and go home,” he said. “It’s shocking, it’s sad. We would just like to be part of the community in Victoria.”

Wilcox, who has been working towards opening the club for the past two years, is disappointed by council’s decision, but said they will start looking at hotels in the downtown core that already have liquor licenses as potential locations for the comedy club.

“The opening will just be delayed. There’s a couple of Yuk Yuk’s in hotels across the country that have been successful,” he said. “We’re not deterred. We’re still very adamant about opening a Yuk Yuk’s in Victoria and we think it will be very successful wherever we open.”

The club is expected to open in the fall or winter.

There was a Yuk Yuk’s in Victoria several years ago, but it shut down in 1987 after only one year in business.