Nova Scotia

Sydney-area club's liquor licence suspended

A Cape Breton boat club is expected to lose its liquor licence for 10 days following an alcohol-related drowning death last year.

A Cape Breton boat club is expected to lose its liquor licence for 10 days following an alcohol-related drowning death last year.

Kevin Hillman was drinking heavily on the night of July 17, 2010. He was one of many people partying at the Mira Boat Club's annual Poker Run.

Staff at the bar near Sydney kept serving Hillman even though, as bartender Amanda MacDougall later recalled, he was intoxicated. His voice slurred and his eyes were "large as saucers," she said.

According to a statement of facts released by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board Monday, Hillman left the bar in the early morning hours and went to his boat, which was docked at the club. He later fell into the water and drowned while tying his boat to another at the wharf.

Police alerted the Alcohol and Gaming Authority that Hillman died after consuming alcohol at the licensed premises. 

Bar struggled with rowdy crowd

In a written statement to the authority, MacDougall said the bar was understaffed that night.

"People had fun, but some were too drunk. Something happened to the woman's washroom door that night. It was broken right off the hinges. There was a fight where a guy was taken away by police. It was really, really stressful," MacDougall wrote.

A one-day hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. The board is expected to impose a 10-day suspension of the boat club's liquor licence for three violations of liquor laws.

The club agreed to the suspension. Bartenders will attend the Serve It Right program, which trains staff on responsible serving of alcohol.

now