The City of Victoria passed a motion to endorse a new brew pub’s distillery and lounge hours, despite police protest.
The Hudson Taphouse and Grill Brewery and Distillery will come to 785 Caledonia Ave. this fall, and offer small-scale distillery and brewing services, combined with a large social and eatery space with room for 385 people, including both an indoor and outdoor patio.
Applicant Grant Turner originally applied for operating hours from 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. seven days per week. He described the upcoming business as a local and sustainable business comparable to the Yates Street Taphouse, where many Hudson residents are patrons.
As part of the public consultation process letters were sent out within 100 metres of the area to residents and occupants. In total, 493 letters were sent out; seven letters came back in opposition and two came back in support.
The Victoria Police Department analyzed the proposal and wrote in dissent of the extended hours.
“We do not support the hours of liquor service as indicated on the application,” said Sgt. Cliff Watson in a letter to the City. “The late hours proposed would almost certainly trigger noise complains – either as a direct result of the hours of operation, or by the spillover effect and/or egress of patrons after hours.”
Watson cited several comparable liquor establishments within residential areas, including Phillips Tasting Room (which closes at 10 p.m.), Spinnakers (which closes at 11 p.m.) and Christie’s Carriage House Pub which closes at 11 p.m. weekdays and 12 p.m. weekends.
Watson suggested that 11 p.m. would be a more appropriate closing time.
After receiving this feedback, Turner volunteered to change the hours to 12 p.m. instead of 1:30 a.m. before the topic was brought to council on Thursday.
Several issues were addressed by council, resulting in an amendment to ensure that both the 50-person and 30-person patios close by 10 p.m.
Councillors debated back and forth on the extended hours.
“I don’t support it, I think it’s too big,” said Coun. Ben Isitt. “Where we see problems with liquor consumption and social disorder and policing resources is at the bigger establishments. I’ve never heard of a tapas bar with 380 seats, tapas bars are more small intimate kind of settings… it’s too big for my liking.”
Coun. Geoff Young motioned for the hours to be further restricted to run until 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. weekends, which was seconded by Coun. Charlayne Thornton Joe and supported by Isitt.
However, the rest of council did not agree.
“We finally have a town where there’s things to do at night, we don’t all just close up at 10 and go home,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Ten is completely unreasonable.”
Ultimately council motioned to endorse the business’ applications, with final decisions now going to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
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