Opposition to a food and music hub in Kelowna’s downtown did not sway city council from supporting a liquor primary licence application for the venue at its Sept. 20 meeting.
Applicant Lee Simon is looking to build The Revelry at 1383 Ellis Street. Most of the opposition came from several residents of The Madison condo building, which is located next door. In a presentation to council, strata President Lloyd Pederson said residents feared the venue will end up being more of a nightclub. He said he and his wife drove the downtown area on a Saturday night between 12:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. to take note of activities.
“What we’ve seen is public intoxication, urinating on sidewalks…loud noise, loud music…loitering, fighting and not long ago a homicide,” he added.
Pederson also took issue with The Revelry’s 685-person occupation limit, and the 1:00 a.m. closing time allowed under a liquor primary licence.
“Let’s remember housing is a greater community concern than drinking establishments,” he said. “With 685 people spilling out at 1:00 a.m. under all these bedrooms, it will be very disruptive.”
Pederson also quoted an RCMP report on the project, which he claimed was not shared with the public, that “there is a real possibility for potential negative impact on the nearby residential community.”
Simon told council The Revelry will operate as a food establishment during the day, along with space for meetings and community gatherings. During evening hours it will host live music and other arts and culture events.
There were also conflicting comments between Pederson and Simon as to consultation and meetings about the project with Madison residents. Incumbent Mayor Colin Basran noted there is a clear divide between the parties.
“I’m not going to play referee, but I think that it’s clear that if they can find a way to improve the dialogue between neighbours it certainly is going to serve everybody better including our community,” he said.
Incumbent Coun. Luke Stack added the venue is part of what council is developing in downtown Kelowna.
“So at the end of the day, I actually think this is strengthening our cultural district, and probably some of the reasons we see so many residential buildings coming into this area to enjoy it.”
Councillors at the meeting supported the liquor licence application being forwarded to the province. Coun. Maxine DeHart was not present for the vote.
This story has been updated to include that. Coun. Maxine DeHart was not in attendance for the Sept. 20 meeting.