The City of Fernie denied a request from Julie Comete for a temporary extension to the liquor-primary licence for an end of ski season party at the Royal Hotel. The application requested that the bar be able to extend its hours from 2 am to 4 am on April 19.
Comete explained she wanted to hold a party that could include people working in the hospitality industry to celebrate the end of the winter ski season. She explained that when she worked at a restaurant, once the clean up was done at 1 am, she and other service industry workers would arrive at a bar or pub just in time for last call at 1:30 am, essentially missing out on the late night socializing that would end when establishments closed their doors at 2 am. With so many people working in the restaurant and serving industry in Fernie, Comete felt it was a good way to end the ski season and allow service workers to enjoy the party too.
The councillors liked her idea based on inclusivity for a resort town full of service industry workers. However, council also noted the rise in complaints about noise and vandalism in the downtown core at night. Michelle Martineau, director of corporate administration services wrote in her report to council that it conflicts with the regulations set out in the City of Fernie Noise Bylaw and Liquor Sales After 2 am policy. In addition, the Elk Valley RCMP are short staffed with five full time employees off on leave.
The City of Fernie is hosting a conference on April 14 to discuss the downtown noise issue with stakeholders such as the RCMP, the Liquor Control Board and neighbouring residential and commercial business owners. Not wanting to contradict themselves, none of the councillors voted for or against the motion meaning Comete’s request was denied.