Hope is split on the benefits and detriments of allowing the Sunshine Lanes Kingpin Lounge to expand its liquor licence and increase its capacity from 62 to 142 occupants.
The new liquor licence would allow that establishment to serve alcohol in the bowling alley and in a new outdoor area.
The town took to the Aug. 22 public hearing to express themselves as did the owner of the lounge, Calvin Barnett, who argued that the expansion of the liquor area will help him pay taxes and hire staff.
“Taxes are extreme and to meet them yearly with a 62 (person) licence … going to be very tough,” said Barnett, So I’m trying to expand my business, hire a few people, get a few jobs here in Hope that is dearly necessary.”
In a post-hearing interview, Barnett added that his taxes went up from $13,000 to $20,000 in one year.
He also said with the liquor area expanded, interest in bowling might return, by allowing families to stay together because people who want to drink do not have to be confined to the bar.
Barnett also submitted a petition of support with multiple pages of signatures.
Certain community members argued against the application, by complaining about noise and street peeing.
“I don’t see it as being noisier than any other outdoor deck,” said Barnett. “I mean, it’s not noisy at 293 (Wallace Restaurant), I don’t see it being over the ambient noise of a car going by, or one of our diesel trucks in town.
“It’s not for rock-and-roll. There will not be loud music played outside. There will be no dancing, frolicking in the streets. It’s just a deck”
A submission from Hope RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Karol Rehdner also said that they have “had little to no complaints from local residents” about speeding, noisy or parked vehicles.
Rehdner adds that the lounge has not required “excessive commitment of local policing resources” for incidents including drinking and driving, public intoxication or loud music.
Barnett also said nobody from his lounge pees on people’s fence, a significant complaint from a distraught nearby resident who was brought to tears at the hearing.
“I can’t imagine them, when they’ve got washrooms, right there, so they’re going to walk 50-100 feet to pee on their fence? I don’t think so,” said Barnett. “There are a track of bottle collectors and can collectors that go up and down that alley between Wallace and Fort … and every morning at 6:30 when I walk my dog, someone’s peeing somewhere.
“So if you want to get the pee police out, that’s where you catch them.”
A member of the audience supported this, saying that the drunkards, who might be homeless, are the offenders in her experience.
“Usually those people that we’re seeing, they’re not the ones that are going to the bar, because they don’t have the money to go to the bar,” said the woman.
The most vociferous opposition came from Sharlene Harrison-Hinds.
“I would not want to deprive somebody of expanding their business and bringing jobs to Hope, but at what cost to people who live in that area? I wouldn’t want another bar of any kind where I live,” said Harrison-Hinds.
“And the comparison to 293? That’s like, comparing, I don’t know, a Porsche and a Volkswagen.”
The manager of 626 Wallace Street, who also lives there, registered her complaint through a letter, stating that conversations from the lounge echo between the Kimchi Restaurant and their building.
She also alleges that patrons of the lounge park in her area and she has also witnessed fights and “experienced a drunk driver trying to take out the cement base of our fencing.”
“I would not like to see an increase of noise on this corner,” said the letter.
Barnett also added his long-term goal is to open a restaurant there. That idea drew support from one attendee, saying that he would like more cuisine variety in town.
Read a letter replying to this issue in the Sept. 8 issue of The Hope Standard.