Controversy at Kodiak Lounge

At the Fernie meeting on Tuesday, August 9, council considered an application for Permanent Change to a Liquor License, as submitted by Joe Howse, Licensee and Owner/ Operator of Raging Elk International Hostel and Kodiak Lounge Ltd located at 892 Sixth Avenue in Fernie.
In the past, the Kodiak Lounge applied for a licence to have an outdoor patio, an application that caused controversy. Judging by the people present and the people represented in opposition to the new application, the controversy still abounds. The Kodiak’s application asked for serving hours to be extended from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Tannis McDonald stated she represented over 100 neighbours in opposition and she shared several stories of people being unhappy with drunken bar patrons being loud and unruly during late hours. She also presented a petition. It was apparent that residents are sick of dealing with inconsiderate members of the night time bar crowd and Tannis McDonald shared these frustrations with council.
Owner Joe Howse spoke about his plans to host special events (weddings etc) and the inconvenience and the cost of applying for special event exceptions on a regular basis. He also spoke of his establishment’s positive relationship with RCMP and his proven track record over the two-year period he has owned the business. He expressed disappointment and frustration at being lumped in with the problem of late night bar patrons (from other bars). He invited neighbours to visit his establishment and meet him before signing petitions that he believes were created through, “fear-mongering.” He also seemed upset that the process was out of the ordinary in that he was not made aware that the forum would be in a style so similar to a hearing. Had he known, he could have had people speak in support of his business.
Council spent a significant amount of time discussing and debating the issue, trying to identify the problem, and trying to create a solution. Council agreed that late night unruliness had little (if anything) to do with the Kodiak Lounge and more to do with other bars in town. Despite agreeing to this point, Council chose not to recommend an extension of the evening hours (they did extend the opening hours).
The conversation seemed to change at points, to trying to address the problem of late night drunkenness. They seemed empathic to the Kodiak’s situation, but did not extend evening hours. One issue mentioned by council was the blatant over-serving of patrons at some other bars. Council also began to brainstorm some solutions to the general problem. They plan to ask for more tools in dealing with bars that abuse their licence to serve alcohol and to have more choices in assigning licences.
Without the City’s recommendation, the Kodiak’s evening hours have little chance of being extended. Mr. Howse and the Kodiak Lounge seem to be out of luck at this point in time with extending their nighttime hours beyond 11 p.m. However, the larger issue of the problems caused by some unruly bar patrons will remain for the time being

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In the past, the Kodiak Lounge applied for a licence to have an outdoor patio, an application that caused controversy. Judging by the people present and the people represented in opposition to the new application, the controversy still abounds. The Kodiak’s application asked for serving hours to be extended from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Tannis McDonald stated she represented over 100 neighbours in opposition and she shared several stories of people being unhappy with drunken bar patrons being loud and unruly during late hours. She also presented a petition. It was apparent that residents are sick of dealing with inconsiderate members of the night time bar crowd and Tannis McDonald shared these frustrations with council.

Owner Joe Howse spoke about his plans to host special events (weddings etc) and the inconvenience and the cost of applying for special event exceptions on a regular basis. He also spoke of his establishment’s positive relationship with RCMP and his proven track record over the two-year period he has owned the business. He expressed disappointment and frustration at being lumped in with the problem of late night bar patrons (from other bars). He invited neighbours to visit his establishment and meet him before signing petitions that he believes were created through, “fear-mongering.” He also seemed upset that the process was out of the ordinary in that he was not made aware that the forum would be in a style so similar to a hearing. Had he known, he could have had people speak in support of his business.

Council spent a significant amount of time discussing and debating the issue, trying to identify the problem, and trying to create a solution. Council agreed that late night unruliness had little (if anything) to do with the Kodiak Lounge and more to do with other bars in town. Despite agreeing to this point, Council chose not to recommend an extension of the evening hours (they did extend the opening hours).

The conversation seemed to change at points, to trying to address the problem of late night drunkenness. They seemed empathic to the Kodiak’s situation, but did not extend evening hours. One issue mentioned by council was the blatant over-serving of patrons at some other bars. Council also began to brainstorm some solutions to the general problem. They plan to ask for more tools in dealing with bars that abuse their licence to serve alcohol and to have more choices in assigning licences.

Without the City’s recommendation, the Kodiak’s evening hours have little chance of being extended. Mr. Howse and the Kodiak Lounge seem to be out of luck at this point in time with extending their nighttime hours beyond 11 p.m. However, the larger issue of the problems caused by some unruly bar patrons will remain for the time being