Patrons of Whistler nightclubs can stay out a little later Sunday nights after council amended the municipality’s liquor licensing policy to extend opening hours from 1 to 2 a.m.
The move brings opening hours for Whistler’s six nightclubs in line with the rest of the week’s schedule, as current local law allows for clubs or cabarets to stay open until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
Nightclub managers reported to municipal staff that many patrons, especially foreign visitors, have expressed their surprise at Sunday’s earlier closing times.
The reasoning behind the change, according to the municipal policy report presented to council Tuesday night (Oct. 16), was to offer a variety of choice for customers and provide a consistent entertainment product throughout the week.
The move makes sense considering the number of Canadian and U.S. holidays that fall on Mondays, as well as the number of foreign visitors that come to the community wanting to enjoy Whistler’s nightlife regardless of the day of the week.
Municipal staff considered the potential for increased nighttime noise disturbances and the need for an ongoing police presence needed for the extended hours.
But, with local RCMP signing off on the amendment, council was quick to support the update to the municipal liquor policy.
“It received unanimous approval by all of the sectors, including the RCMP, so it made sense to approve it,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “It’s consistent with the fact that we are taking a more relaxed approach to liquor regulations generally.”
Each nightclub will now have to apply to the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) and the municipality in order to extend their hours.
A municipal staff report will have to be provided to council for each individual nightclub application before a resolution will be sent off to the LCLB with any concerns.
After being found in good standing by the RCMP, the nightclub will then have to post a sign notifying the public of the schedule change for 30 days in advance as well as place an ad in local news media.
Current municipal liquor law for local bars and pubs remains unchanged. These establishments are currently permitted to serve alcohol until 1 a.m. seven days a week.
Municipality requests consultation before Greyhound service cuts
Whistler’s council wants the municipality to consult with Greyhound before the transportation company goes ahead with province-wide service cuts that would drastically reduce intercity bus trips in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
A resolution was passed Tuesday (Oct. 16) directing municipal staff to prepare a submission asking the province’s Passenger Transportation Board not to approve a slew of Greyhound service cuts that would cut daily trips between Vancouver and Whistler from eight to four.
“We recognize that (Greyhound) is very challenged with some of their departures, so to the extent that we can have a dialogue with them and with the provincial regulatory body to hear their concerns and to give them some ideas about what they might do, we’re really hoping that our letter will achieve that,” said the mayor.
The municipality’s request was based on three factors: a lack of reasonable consultation between Greyhound and local governments, an insufficient amount of time within the current licence amendment process for municipalities to consult with their constituents and a lack of opportunities for public commentary, preferably a public hearing, according to the resolution.
Greyhound officials said the company lost $14.1 million on its B.C. operations last year and needs to reduce service or face eliminating service in the province altogether.
“I think Greyhound’s concerns are real concerns,” said Coun. Jack Crompton, who sits on the municipality’s Transit Management Advisory Committee. “What I would hope we could do as a municipality is be a part of this decision making process and give some input, give some feedback and maybe even share some ideas.”