Calgary

Permit woes close popular nightclub

A potential mountain of paperwork and costs associated with securing a new permit has led to the closure of a popular Calgary nightclub.
The Warehouse nightclub closed this week after its liquor licence was suspended. ((CBC))

A potential mountain of paperwork and costs associated with securing a new permit has led to the closure of a popular Calgary nightclub.

The owner of the Warehouse, a popular spot for underground bands and DJs on 10th Street S.W., has decided to close the club down rather than pursue the new development permit required to stay open.

The Warehouse had been operating as a private member's club since 1984 under a Class C licence, which requires customers to be a member or a guest of a member.

The Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission had an increasing number of issues with the club adhering to the regulations of its licence and indefinitely suspended its liquor licence on Friday, said Chris Hewitt, who owns the Warehouse.

"I guess I hoped in the process that there might be a hearing in which I could defend myself properly and the licence would be removed by, personally I felt, by a more fair means than what happened," Hewitt told CBC News on Thursday.

'A very long, expensive process'

The liquor licence suspension started a domino effect that requires the Warehouse to apply for a minors-prohibited licence — which the area is not zoned for. That means the club would have to secure a new development permit.

"That would be a very long, expensive process," said Hewitt. "Due to the recession as well, we're not exactly having the finest years that we've had. So we weren't really in a financial position to hang on that long."

Kent Pallister, the city's chief licence inspector, said the Warehouse could stay open with its current licence — but it would have to stop serving liquor.

Hewitt, who has owned the Warehouse for 10 years, said it was a difficult decision to close the club's doors.

"I've stood here and watched an amazing array of concerts over the years and seen many 'hands in the air' moments," he said.

"I've seen how much happiness the place has brought the people so it's going to be hard to know that that's not here anymore and not to be part of it anymore."