Jasper Ave. bars may soon stay open until 4 a.m.
Published Friday, September 3, 2010 4:25PM MDT
A new report suggests bars on Jasper Avenue should stay open until 4 a.m., two hours after the current last call time in city bars. The recommendation is an attempt to address the growing issue of congestion, crime and noise factor in the area.
This is one of dozens of recommendations in a report made to address the nightlife along the Avenue, which has included alcohol-fuelled violence in the past.
It has been argued that the later bar hours would ease congestion and allow people to gradually leave the area over the course of the evening.
"Right now everybody gets out of the bar and it's like rush hour except it's 2 in the morning," said bar patron Daniel Chmielewski.
Liquor sales would still end at 2 a.m., but bars would stay open an additional two hours. The new suggestion already has support from the mayor.
"On the surface one of the concerns we're always being told by police is this mass exodus at 2 o' clock in the morning. I think this is a good solution," said Mayor Stephen Mandel.
Taxi drivers say they've been calling for longer bar hours for some time.
"People expect us to greet within 15 minutes and take them home and it's not possible if that many bars are there and they're closing at the same time," said Balraj Manhas with the United Cab Association of Edmonton.
The report was created by a group of bar owners, police officers, and residents following a survey of more than 1,300 earlier in the year.
One resident says he lives near a few of the Avenue's most popular bars and doesn't think it would be a positive for businesses.
"Letting them stay open longer wouldn't do any good because as soon as they can't buy beer they'd be gone," said John.
And nightclub owner Tabitha J. England agrees.
"Having the bar stay open until 4 in the morning without revenue coming in to pay for the staff doesn't make sense to me."
This particular recommendation includes Jasper Avenue only. And so far there are no plans to extend it to Whyte Avenue. Other recommendations listed in the report include having a special police unit dedicated to the city's entertainment districts, and allowing buskers to operate along the Avenue late at night to diversify the atmosphere.
The cost of the initiative is about $250,000.
With files from Scott Roberts