City councillor pushes for changes to nightclubs amid violence concerns in Exchange District
WINNIPEG -- Downtown Winnipeg and the Exchange District are home to many nightclubs and restaurants and for some in the area violence has been an ongoing issue.
Vivian Santos, the city councillor for Point Douglas, is pushing for changes to the way these companies receive their occupancy permits.
This comes after a violent incident that took place outside Citizen Nightclub in November.
"Something happened in November where a man was killed and it just shook the whole neighbourhood," said Santos.
Two men were shot outside the nightclub, one of whom died from his injuries.
The ongoing violence prompted Santos to bring forward a motion to amend the Downtown Winnipeg zoning bylaw.
She recommends any new businesses or tenants looking to occupy a large space that is 3,000 square feet or could serve more than 200 people, would have to submit a business plan to a community committee.
"It gives the residents two options, they can make complaints to the LGCA (Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba) or they can still make complaints to their city councillor."
After the shooting, the nightclub had its liquor license cancelled.
The Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba said it can only reprimand businesses related to liquor infractions.
"The situation around this particular nightclub involves multiple levels of government and different agencies, so the LGCA doesn't hold all the responsibility or the ability to enforce all those different areas of concern," said Amanda Creasy, director of public affairs for LGCA.
One resident who lives on Princess Street and has heard disturbances in the past said, he believes the city needs to pay more attention to downtown and thinks the proposed amendment would be a good move.
"It's always good to be transparent to your people, so yeah, that would be nice," said Felipe Pimentel.
Santos feels this is a much needed safety measure for the resident in her ward and hopes it will keep nightclub owners and operators more accountable.
"You have to be a good manager, have good security protocols to make sure you're managing these people when they're spilling out onto the street," said Santos.