The person behind a food and music hub planned for downtown Kelowna has responded to a threatened lawsuit against the venue.
Lee Simon says several points made by the organizer of a GoFundMe page looking to raise money for legal action against The Revelry Food+Music Hub require clarification. Most notably, Simon says his venue is not a nightclub, as Lloyd Pederson, president of The Madison strata council, claims. The Madison is next door to the proposed location of The Revelry on Ellis Street.
“Most traditional nightclubs are not open during the day,” said Simon. “Nor do they consistently charge for event tickets, provide restaurant service, have a full-service kitchen, offer meeting facilities or present programming for a variety of ages, including youth.”
Simon also says his group pursued a dual food license because the venue will operate as a food primary establishment approximately two-thirds of the time. Their desire to offer standing room shows in addition to seated events required a liquor primary license.
Council unanimously supported The Revelry’s liquor licence application to the province at its Sept. 20 meeting. It was at the meeting Pederson spoke against the project, saying it would be disruptive to the neighbourhood.
“Public safety is our primary concern, adds Simon. “Our selected capacity of 685 accounts for up to 600 patrons and up to 85 staff, including artists. Concerns about 685 people leaving at 1:00 a.m. conflict with the business restrictions we agreed to. We want to be the prime stop of the evening, not the last stop.”
Simon also notes that when he acquired the Ellis St. location in 2021, it was already zoned for uses including a spectator entertainment establishment, theatre restaurant, and a hotel.
“I fully appreciate that challenges with the liquor license regulations and required communication methods can lead to misunderstandings by the public. Still, opposition to both our development permit and liquor license appears limited to one civic address – The Madison.”
Simon claims Pederson has restricted attempts to communicate with Madison residents directly and has spread false information and personal accusations.
“For those wishing to join this action (GoFundMe), I would suggest confirming legal grounds for such a case before committing, said Simon.
“Should a lawsuit be filed against us, we will respond in kind. Live music is always worth fighting for.”