Noisy Drunks

The CBC is reporting that Flex Mussels’ application for a late-nite liquor permit (they wanted to be able to serve drinks until 2:00 a.m.) was denied, and that they’ll only be allowed to stay open until midnight.

Much of the discussion surrounding this issue, at least from Flex Mussels’ perspective, seemed to centre around the difference between low-class rowdy drunks and their breed of high-class wine-drinking effete drunks; their representative was quoted:

We have every intention, we’ve had every intention all along, of bringing something classy and nice to the Charlottetown waterfront.

Here’s the thing about that (and I speak from personal experience here): put some drink into anyone and put them out on the street at 2:00 a.m. and they’re going to be annoying. They don’t need to be peeing on the neighbourhood begonias or breaking into musical theatre numbers: simply walking up Prince Street in the middle of the night talking about Brahms in that slightly-too-loud way that endrunkened people do is enough to disturb the peace of the neighbourhood.

Nobody’s suggesting that there be a total ban on movement and activity on Charlottetown city streets after midnight, but over the last 7 years we’ve lived downtown there’s been an incremental tilt in the late nite atmosphere away from “comfortable urban residential neighbourhood” and toward lively outdoor music (etc.). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the tilt has to be managed against the needs of residents who want to do things like “sleep” and “think” at night.

Kudos to city council for recognizing this.


Jevon MacDonald's picture
Jevon MacDonald on July 10, 2007 - 15:18 Permalink

What I don’t get is: The City itself puts on the majority of the problem causing events. They have taken something as simple and family orientated as Canada Day and they have turned it in to an expensive and cramped experience.

We used to haul the family lawn chairs down to victoria park, take a few blankets and every year, our family and 3-4 others all sat together. Kids would run around, and I’d get 5 or 10$ to spend at the vendors. It’s where I had my first sampling of Indian food. The fireworks probably only lasted 1/3rd as long as they do now, and probably only cost 10k to put on, but wow — they always seemed pretty big.

I’d like to see something as family-compatible as that come back. It was fun, non profit and it involved the whole community.

Back to your point though.

Flex Mussels is a private enterprise that is having a separate and entirely arbitrary set of rules placed on it by a city council that seems less interested in fixing the actual problem and instead would rather just not-get-in-trouble with a bunch of testy downtown residents (after said council just threw a drinkathon party in your backyard… and invited Nickleback BTW… who does that?). Rather than having a sane and maintainable policy from the beginning that would have kept all late-night clubs in one place, the city has let them pop up all over, the biggest of them all, Peakes, lets out right in to a residential neighborhood.

Everyone is crediting the police with keeping problems to a minimum, but how much did that cost the city? Sure it shows up in the police budget, and not as a keg-party line item.

Flex Mussels is getting thrown in to the middle of small town politicking, and I feel bad for them. I suggest you go to Peake’s bar late at night and then venture over to Flex Mussels if you want to see the full story. I assert that you will find vastly different crowds. 20 year olds full of coolers and red bull are not the same crowd as 40-50-somethings full of Lobster Bisque Mussels and Creme Brule… mmm…

Considering that Charlottetown only seems to have the Velvet Underground and Peakes., is it really so bad that a Mussel restaurant can’t serve wine outdoors on a hot summer night? I mean, the brick wall of the Delta Hotel isn’t going to complain.

Rob Lantz's picture
Rob Lantz on July 10, 2007 - 15:46 Permalink

I just want to point out that the organizer of the Festival of Lights, Tourism Charlottetown, is an independent body. The City has some representation on the board of TC, but council itself did not throw “a drinkathon party in your backyard”.

On Flex Mussels, I felt the reporting on CBC was not a perfect representation of what happened. The operators were seeking a lounge license, which by default is good until the usual closing time: 2:00am. I proposed an amendment to the resolution that would limit their lounge license to midnight. The operators readily agreed to this and signed a development agreement with the city, which will bind any future businesses on the property. What I feel bad about is that these people walked very innocently and unknowingly into an issue that has been coming to a head for a long time, and they’ve paid the price, literally, in substantial unrealized revenues as a result. I believe the issue for them is not the midnight deadline, but the time it took for this issue to get resolved.

Charlie's picture
Charlie on July 11, 2007 - 01:34 Permalink

This may or may not be the place to ask this, but can anyone tell me how bad the “nickelback” swearing experience really was? I heard about this on the radio in Halifax today, prompting people to ask me, the one from the island, just how elderly and overly sensitive Islander really are. I’ve seen a quote online attributed to Rob Lantz but it never mentions if Rob was actually at the show…?

I didn’t attend the concert, but I picked up my sister (21) and her friend (22) afterwards, asked them for their review and was told “It was great!” “Really impressed with Nickelback, much better live show than I would have guessed”…this was repeated by others the next day, with one guy saying “Nickelback went way up in my books with that show”

Sooo, was it really that bad or are people over-reacting and next year it’s going to be the Festival of Lights featuring Barney!

Small Town's picture
Small Town on July 11, 2007 - 06:31 Permalink

You live downtown, what do you expect, tractors driving about?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 11, 2007 - 13:21 Permalink

I fail to see why living downtown should equate with aspiring to a higher quality of residential life.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on July 11, 2007 - 17:08 Permalink

During some pre-meeting small-talk with then HC president Alex MacAulay I made a supportive comment about the non-resident double land tax for which, at least in part, he was responsible. His reply was a bit surprising, “No, it’s a bad law, because it doesn’t treat everyone the same.”

‘Same’ isn’t always ‘fair’ but it comes closer more often than pretty nearly any other notion. I can’t imagine going to a place called Flex Mussels (t-shirts stretched to the breaking point over ‘roid filled chests comes to mind), but they should fall under the same law as every other bar owner in Charlottetown just as Alex was insisting.

Yer absolutely right Jevon.

Rob Lantz's picture
Rob Lantz on July 11, 2007 - 18:23 Permalink

It may not be fair, but they were in danger of being denied a lounge license altogether without the amendment. The owner’s were quoted in yesterday’s paper as saying “It’s exactly what we wanted”, if I remember correctly.