A deadly shooting at an Exchange District nightclub late last year has one Winnipeg city councillor looking for more control over drinking establishments in the area.
Councillor Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) is calling for changes to the way the city issues occupancy permits to large nightclubs, restaurants, bars, and lounges.
On Monday she asked the city’s property and development, heritage and downtown development committee to review the city’s permitting procedures.
“With these large venues, they’re very hard to control and manage,” Santos told reporters after Monday’s committee meeting.
The move comes after one man was killed and another was sent to hospital after multiple shots were fired at a shooting that started inside Citizen nightclub on Bannatyne Avenue early Nov. 2.
The violence spilled out into the street with gunfire rattling the Exchange District, where police could be seen picking up shell casings between parked cars the next morning.
Santos said the shooting left many living around the club scared, including the mother of a newborn who told the councillor she found a bullet hole near her baby’s bedroom window.
“They don’t want to go out at night time,” said Santos. “They’re fearful.”
Santos would like to see new drinking establishments larger than 3,000 sq. feet or with a capacity exceeding people forced to present their business plans — including security plans — publicly in front of a community committee before being allowed to open.
She hopes city bylaw officers can then make visits to the businesses to make sure the plans are being followed, with occupancy permits pulled for those found not to be complying.
“I think it would hold that business accountable,” she said.
“I’d like the business plan to come forward, in a more public setting, so residents can listen or even come to speak to them and listen to the new businesses and tenants in how they’re going to deal with their establishment.”
Manitoba’s Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority suspended Citizen’s licence shortly after the shooting, but Santos said the space is up for lease again.
She said she doesn’t want to see more violence if it’s reopened as another club.
“With this specific location it’s been about a decade’s worth of unfortunate incidents,” said Santos, adding she’s OK with another club opening, as long as it’s done right.
“The residents are not saying no, just be a good business owner, be a good manager,” she said. “Take care of your patrons — that’s all we’re asking for.”