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Extended hours for karaoke, nightclubs in Richmond not recommended

Owners of Richmond-based businesses told the city they struggle to compete with Vancouver counterparts.
Zodiac Karaoke and Pub on Alexandra Road.

City staff aren't recommending karaoke clubs and nightclubs hours be extended due to safety concerns.

Requests from local karoake business owners to extend their hours are on the next community safety committee meeting, scheduled for June 11.

In a report dated May 14, city staff recommended sticking with the status quo of a 2 a.m. closing time.

Citing a previous liquor licence application by JP Malone from 2004, staff found "liquor primaries may be subject to community conflict/concerns as well as health and safety issues."

The report added it was "not surprising" 97 per cent of local residents surveyed for the 2004 application spoke against it.

More recently, the report references a case study by Richmond RCMP and bylaws that found "the majority" of calls for service related to neighbourhood disturbances and liquor primaries between 2022 and the first quarter of 2024 occurred "late in the evening" between midnight and 2 a.m.

"Many of the calls for service were related to neighbourhood disturbances and it is likely that any proposal to extend hours would be met with significant neighbourhood opposition as shown in the case of JP Malone's," reads the report.

The request to extend operating hours was raised by a group of Richmond karaoke bars and nightclub owners earlier this year. They had asked city council to extend their opening hours by one hour, from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., so they could better compete with their Vancouver counterparts.

The group, which included Zodiac Karaoke and Pub, No. 88 Music Restaurant, True's Club and Millennium Karaoke, told council the decision to extend liquor hours for some Richmond restaurants to 2 a.m. had a "severe impact" on karaoke clubs. 

People who stay longer in restaurants have less time to frequent their establishments, and some Vancouver businesses, "minutes away" from them, serve alcohol until 4 a.m., council heard.

The staff report noted the limit for extended hours in New Westminster, Surrey and Burnaby is 2 a.m. It also considered recent liquor policy changes in Vancouver. These changes included removing liquor distancing requirements and allowing some areas to operate until 3 a.m.

"However, unlike Vancouver, Richmond does not have designated entertainment zones for liquor primaries," reads the report.

The extension of hours would have "a broader geographical impact and increased likelihood of neighbourhood conflict" from issues such as gender-based violence, public health harms from intoxication and other types of late-night disorder, it added.

"Given the high number of community safety-related issues found in the recent past during their preliminary research and case study, staff do not recommend extending the hours of operation or liquor service for karaoke and night clubs," concluded the report.

With files from Daisy Xiong.

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