Ottawa

Hull bars can stay open longer starting this weekend

City councillors in Gatineau, Que., voted 16-3 Tuesday for a nine-month pilot project allowing downtown bars to stay open until 3 a.m.

Pilot project approved by city council could run until February

A taxi pulls up in Gatineau's Old Hull district in March 2019. A pilot project to let the area's bars stay open later could run from this Thursday night until February. (Jonathan DuPaul/CBC)

City councillors in Gatineau, Que., voted 16-3 Tuesday for a nine-month pilot project allowing downtown bars to stay open until 3 a.m., temporarily reversing a change made in the 1990s. 

Starting this Thursday night, closing time can be changed from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.

It could last until February 2020, although some councillors promised to stop the project if it isn't working for the island's residents. They include the area's representative, Cédric Tessier.

There has been vocal opposition from some people about the idea since it started picking up steam in the fall of 2017.

Hull bar hours were dropped to 2 a.m. in the late 1990s because of problems with violence and noise, spurred on in part by people wanting to keep partying after Ontario's bars closed at 1 a.m. (Now, Ontario bars close at 2 a.m.)

Coun. Jocelyn Blondin said Hull residents have little to gain with the pilot, adding it's not the right way to revitalize the city core.

Hull bars argued the dynamic is different now that 20 years have passed, and that their area has been at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the city and the province, where bars can stay open until 3 a.m.

With files from Nathalie Tremblay

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