EDMONTON – A central Edmonton hookah bar that was the scene of a shooting on New Year’s Day has been ordered by the city to stop operating.
Two people were sent to hospital after a shooting at Eclipse Hookah Lounge in the area of 93 Street and 111 Avenue. One of the victims, 25-year-old Abdikadir Mohamed, died in hospital one week later.
A stop work order posted on the door of the bar Thursday morning stated permits are needed for electrical, HVAC, plumbing and gas before the business can operate again.
Peter Ohm, acting manager of the city’s planning branch, said the stop work order was issued after an investigation at the bar on Wednesday.
Ohm said Eclipse Hookah Lounge was operating without the proper development permit and it had a licence to operate as a general retail store.
“What we found upon inspection was something other than that use,” Ohm said.
Residents said the windows were blacked out and people were going in and out at night. Chairs and pillows can be seen inside the building.
A development permit application to change the use of the business to a restaurant and hookah bar was refused by the City of Edmonton on Nov. 23, 2015. But that didn’t stop the lounge from operating, residents said.
Ohm said the New Year’s shooting brought additional attention to the business.
“It certainly worries the city,” Ohm said. “Any time we have criminal activity and the police are concerned, the city is concerned.”
Community members in the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood have voiced concerns about the 111 Avenue building for months.
“We had some concern about violence,” Cris Basualdo, a member of the Alberta Avenue Community League, said.
“I mean, gunfire near our houses and our apartments and our business strip? That’s hugely concerning.”
Basualdo said she is cautiously pleased the city issued the stop work order. However, she believes it took the city too long to do it. She hopes the bar will be shut down for good.
“That is only one order and it’s taken an awfully long time,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of faith in the city at this point. It should have never, ever taken this long to deal with.”
Ohm said the city has procedures it must follow, which is why it took the time it did to issue the stop work order.
The bar will be monitored by the city and if any violations are found, Ohm said fines or legal action could follow.
All operation at the business must cease until permits are obtained and an inspection is completed.
© 2016 Shaw Media