Council studies nightclub request

The co-owners of a downtown night club who want to increase their allowed maximum of customers are encouraged by City council's decision to table the issue for two weeks.

Angela Jackson, who owns Rivers Nightclub with Gordon Van, said binders of information presented to council members Tuesday afternoon were put together after they saw the police and business improvement association reports that went to City staff.

City council tabled the application Tuesday after Rivers lawyer Kevin Church distributed binders containing new information from the bar owners' perspective.

The club's request was to increase the number of patrons at Rivers from the current 210 to 380, and to extend closing time from midnight to 2 a.m. Sunday.

However, Jackson said, after seeing concerns from the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association about the longer hours - the other night clubs close at midnight - Rivers has agreed to rescind that part of its application.

"The application is centered around the capacity increase. We need it to succeed," she said. The club wants to be allowed the same number of customers per square foot as other bars.

The police report recommends against allowing the changes because Rivers (with 210 patrons maximum) has had 35 police calls between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 while Cactus Jacks had 25 calls (with 495 customers allowed).

RCMP Insp. Jennie Latham wrote council to say Rivers is the biggest draw on police resources compared with other bars downtown.

Her report also mentioned Rivers received a suspension for permitting an intoxicated person to remain in the nightclub.

As a result of the comments, City staff recommended against the changes.

Jackson said the bar records show only 11 police calls, most of which were in the first few months. The club has added monitoring and Treoscope identification, among security measures.

City development and engineering services director David Trawin said Rivers asked to be allowed a capacity of 380 because the space is now being used as a night club, not a pub where people are seated at tables and served food.

With a limit of 210 people, the bar feels somewhat empty and doesn't provide the ambiance that customers are looking for, he summarized.

Rivers Night Club has been through several incarnations in the last few years, including Charlie's Taphouse, Chrome and the Thirsty Dog sports bar.

Jackson said if the club has to prove itself for a long time before getting additional capacity, it will not survive.

Coun. Jim Harker moved to table the club's application to be dealt with at the next meeting so council members have a chance to read the binder information.

"In all fairness, I think we should review what's been said," he said afterward.

Councillors Tina Lange, Denis Walsh and John DeCicco supported the motion, while Nancy Bepple, Pat Wallace and Marg Spina opposed it. The vote means the issue will return to council chambers in two weeks.

Mayor Peter Milobar had excused himself because he owns a liquor store.

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