Courtenay nightclub owner wants expanded liquor hours

The Bridge Lounge is hoping to extend its liquor service hours and open possibilities for hosting weddings and special events.

Nicola Webb wants to expand the hours of liquor service at the Bridge Lounge in Courtenay.

Nicola Webb wants to expand the hours of liquor service at the Bridge Lounge in Courtenay.

The Bridge Lounge is hoping to extend its liquor service hours and open possibilities for hosting weddings and special events.

Courtenay council recently received an application from The Bridge for a permanent change to its liquor licence to extend its liquor service hours and allow alcohol on a new outdoor patio.

Notices are being sent to neighbouring property owners and businesses requesting input, and council will consider the application July 4.

The Bridge is currently approved to operate from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday and from 7 p.m. to midnight on Sunday.

Owner Nicola Webb is asking to change the operating hours to 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.

As well, she is requesting approval for a new outdoor patio. The former outdoor patio on the site was licensed, but it was condemned and the licence was surrendered.

“The applicant intends to change the business model of the establishment to cater to weddings, conferences, business meetings, etc. and has invested a significant amount of funds to repair and upgrade the building,” according to the staff report from John Ward, the city’s manager of corporate administration.

Included in Ward’s report is an e-mail from Comox Valley RCMP Insp. Tom Gray, who said the RCMP has no problem with the plan.

“I see no additional work for us if the deck is put into the service area,” he wrote.

Webb is hoping to extend the hours of operation so she can change up the venue.

“Right now, the only money I make is on alcohol service, and it’s no longer viable to rely on that unless I can change up my hours and cater to different groups at different times, especially as the liquor laws have tightened up on service and how much alcohol service is too much, etc.,” she wrote in an e-mail to Ward. “If my hours were to change, then I could cater to weddings, conferences, business meetings, club meetings, etc. I would also like to explore food service and change my venue to cater to different crowds so it doesn’t become a place that is known to cater to a certain genre that makes a negative name for my business.”

Webb feels it would be “lovely” to be able to serve on the deck, which offers a view of Simms Millennium Park and the Fifth Street Bridge, and it would allow for a sit-down area outside for smokers.

“We are going to do our best to take precautions due to the river being a fish stream and for a safe environment for the patrons to be part of,” she wrote. “There may be issues that arise, and we area willing to work with the City to appease them.”

Coun. Manno Theos was supportive, calling this an example of adapting with the times.

“I think making these changes kind of fits in with the realities of business these days,” he said.

With the change to full-day hours, Webb does not want to be serving alcohol at 9 a.m., but it is easier for her to make one big change to her hours now than keep applying for changes, she explained to council.

No one is allowed in her establishment until her hours of service, so having service throughout the day would allow people to come in and set up for weddings and other events, she added.

“I’ve been trying to clean it up and make it a better venue that a lot of different groups can use,” she told council.

• • •

During the same meeting, council recommended changes to the liquor licence at the Avalanche Bar and Grill, which will allow liquor service from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Council did not receive any submissions from neighbouring property owners and businesses regarding the change, while the RCMP has advised council that it supports the application.

According to the staff report, council’s comments on the application are that, “If the Avalanche Bar and Grill application were approved, it would not result in an increase of noise in the area. If the application were approved, it would not have a negative impact on the community, based on the lack of submissions received from the public, as well as the support from the Comox Valley RCMP.”

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