The Raging Elk’s Kodiak Lounge may be acquiring a liquor license, pending approval by the liquor board.
During the June 22 Fernie council meeting, Raging Elk Hostel co-owner Joe Howse asked council for their blessing in the proposed liquor license amendment, requesting that the local hostel be granted a liquor license for the Kodiak Lounge that would extend to 12 a.m.
Because the hostel is not on city owner property, council’s blessing was not required for the liquor license; however, Howse noted the board would be taking their recommendations into consideration.
“If it’s a regulated deck under a license, I can close that deck,” Howse said. “It just gives me a way to control that area.”
Currently, hostel patrons can access the deck during all hours and they are permitted to bring their own alcohol onto the deck.
After announcing the proposal to Fernie residents, however, council received some public backlash.
The backlash included complaints about the liquor license negatively affecting the family neighbourhood, issues with garbage and broken bottles, in addition to concerns over public urination and parking.
Council, however, determined the concerns were related to the hours of operation, rather than the proposed liquor license for the deck itself.
“There were no issues with the outdoor patio, just the proposed hours of the operation,” Deputy Clerk Sheryl Zral said.
Mayor Mary Giuliano added, “The one letter that was against this quite adamantly stated that their business suffers from your patrons parking in their space, and your patrons going over there illegally with broken bottles. This was the only concern when I read this because the letter was so adamantly opposed.”
Responding to council’s concern, Howse explained that the staff at the Raging Elk ensure bottles do not leave the premises and they encourage the towing of improperly parked vehicles.
“I’ve talked to him and I’m fully for towing vehicles,” Howse said. “We’re a very regulated business. I personally think this is a personal issue,” Howse replied to council’s concerns.
Coun. Dan McSkimming questioned how this individual resident’s concerns pertained to the liquor license for the deck, stating, “Whatever is happeneing, it has nothing to do with [patrons] being out there or not. I don’t see how that pertains to the application. It seems to be an ongoing issue that has nothing to do with the patio.”
After discussing the permit amongst themselves, council unanimously agreed to recommend an 11 p.m., rather than 12 a.m. closing due to the nature of the neighbourhood.