Mayor slams downtown bars for binge-drinking
Restaurant Association says Kelly is out of touch
Representatives of the bar industry in downtown Halifax are upset with Mayor Peter Kelly after he said they knowingly serve drunk, binge-drinking patrons.
Kelly released a news release earlier this week demanding bars do more to curb heavy drinking downtown.
"I'm talking about the unfortunate tendency of some people to come downtown to binge-drink and cause trouble and the unwillingness on the part of the province and bar owners to nip this situation in the bud, before it spreads," wrote Kelly.
"I think his problem is that he is not in touch with reality in his own city," said Gordon Stewart, spokesman for the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia.
"I can assure no bar wants the risk of having intoxicated people in their place."
Stewart said the mayor should take a stroll through Halifax's bar district one of these nights.
In his release Kelly attributes binge drinking to recent, violent incidents in the downtown core.
"I am doing this because, increasingly, what happens inside the bars and clubs is spilling out (literally) onto downtown streets where it then becomes HRM's responsibility and, unfortunately, our options are extremely limited," he wrote.
Joe McGuinness, co-owner of Durty Nelly's Irish Pub, said he spends well over $10,000 a year screening patrons at the door.
"We take our responsibility very seriously," he said.
The penalties for breaking the rules include being shut down for several days.