Kamloops council will hear request to extend open hours for bars, clubs on New Years Eve

More time at bars on NYE?

New Years Eve partygoers might be able to stay out at the city’s bars and nightclubs for an extra hour this year, with Kamloops council considering an ask to extend licensed hours of operation until 3 a.m.

According to a report prepared for Tuesday’s council meeting, the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association reached out the city to ask for the extension for liquor primary establishments.

Under the current zoning bylaw, businesses classified as neighbourhood pubs must close at 1 a.m., while nightclubs must close by 2 a.m.

City staff said historically, administration hasn’t supported extension requests as local police indicated this might have a negative impact on policing resources. However, Mounties said this year, a 3 a.m. extension won’t pose a problem.

“The proposed hours extension until 3 a.m. for liquor primary licensed establishments on New Years Eve 2023 is supported by RCMP and is consistent with the approach taken in other B.C. municipalities,” city staff wrote in the report.

“Permitting a 3 a.m. closing time may allow for more gradual dispersion of crowds and support business vitality and community vibrancy.”

City staff note that provincial liquor licensing allows food primary and liquor primary establishments to stay open until 4 a.m. as long as food is available to customers. The city’s zoning bylaw establishes earlier closing times for liquor primary establishments, intended to minimize noise and disturbances.

If council decides to approve the request, staff said they would monitor this New Years Eve celebrations for any potential impacts. Next year, council will receive a report with a recommendation to review similar requests each year, or to amend policy to allow requests across the board.

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