City against Liquid Zoo wishes
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 07, 2023 - Biz Releases

Photo: Wayne Moore

The Liquid Zoo in February asked the City of Kelowna if it could stay open an hour later and increase its capacity from 500 to 655 people.

The planning department does not want that to happen, and on Tuesday night will say just that at a public hearing.

Citing council policy No. 359, city staffers will advise council to oppose The Liquid Zoo request. The policy states no establishment with a person capacity greater than 500 people should be allowed. The Zoo’s currently maximum capacity is 500.

The policy also notes large establishments should be a minimum of 250 metres apart, yet there are three—Distrikt, Cheetahs and Bernie’s—that are already within that radius.

The Zoo’s liquor licence application is also requesting a closing time of 3 a.m. seven days a week, up from its current 2 a.m. bar time.

City planners will also suggest during their presentation that the Zoo staying open later and having more people patronizing the establishment would impact RCMP resourcing. Staff wants council to consider pertinent input from the RCMP, surrounding land uses and general impact on the local neighbourhood.

In a letter to the city, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance said they have “very serious concerns” with the request to increase capacity and stay open later.

“Kelowna’s crime index is trending in the wrong direction, and these types of requests will only exasperate the city’s efforts to move this measure in the correct direction,” Triance said, referring to research that shows each one-hour extension of closing hours was “associated with a statistically significant increase of 4.8 assaults per 100,000 inhabitants per quarter.”

“An increase in occupancy levels will further exasperate the ability of people to get home in a safe and legal manner due to the critical shortage of taxis and ride share options at this time, which further draws out the time people are loitering in the down town core, not able to get home and becoming frustrated and confrontational leading to fights, rowdiness and vandalism.”

The public hearing takes place June 13 at 4 p.m.

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