Be Bar Safe downtown
Get kicked out of one Kamloops bar and you may be out of luck for the rest of the night.
That’s the aim of the Bar Safe Program, which is set to expand throughout the city.
For the past three years, a handful of the city’s major late-night hotspots have been calling and texting each other when a problem customer is kicked out of one of their businesses, said Commodore Grand Cafe and Lounge owner Dino Bernardo.
“We get a text message that says, ‘This is a problem person here. Don’t let them in,’ and it’s reduced our problems dramatically.”
Mounties are encouraging licensed restaurants, pubs and smaller bars to become part of the program.
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said businesses involved in Bar Safe agree to a code of conduct — in which gang colours, drug dealing and use, bar fights and over-intoxication lead to ejection — and agree to let other bars know when they have had to invoke it.
Learned said the program is designed to cut down on alcohol-related problems and property damage in the downtown core, particularly when bars close for the night.
“Some people tend to go a little too overboard with their consumption. The problems we’ve dealt with are generally alcohol-fuelled problems of rowdy behaviours, fights, assaults,” he said.
“This is about not only creating a safe environment, but ensuring the people who are enjoying themselves downtown in bars and restaurants are conducting themselves in a way that’s acceptable to the community,” added Jon Wilson, Kamloops’ community safety and enforcement manager.
For its part, the city announced the location of several new taxi stands created to help with the last-call bar flush.
Taxis can still be called to a specific business for pickup, but will also queue up at the corner of Victoria Street and Third Avenue and along the 400-block of Lansdowne Street between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Cabs won’t respond during these hours when they are hailed on downtown streets, however.
Wilson said giving people a specific place to find a cab should make it easier to get out of the core, and allow taxi drivers who have been called to specific addresses to reach their fares.
The city is also going through proposals for other late-night transportation options and could roll out more options this summer.