Greg Gill, manager of director of marketing and communications for the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp., said the corporation is aware of a petition from residents near the Sports Bar, who, as reported by The Telegram, say they had to deal with public drunkenness, loud noise and music, drug deals and lack of parking around the bar.
“No. 1, we haven’t received any petition. No. 2, we do not have a complete application received from whomever applied for a licence to operate there right now,” he said Wednesday. “So from an NLC perspective, it’s kind of premature for us to comment on it.”
The Sports Bar operated for decades on Boncloddy Street until it closed abruptly late last year. Residents in the area who signed the petition say the quality of life in the neighbourhood has improved dramatically since the bar’s closure.
But July 10, someone named Hannah White published a notice of intention to apply for a liquor licence for the bar, a required step in the process.
Gill said NLC officials will meet with St. John’s city Coun. Jonathan Galgay, who tabled the petition at Monday’s meeting, to discuss the neighbourhood’s concerns, and the corporation will consider what residents have to say about the licence when an application is received and evaluated.
“We’re well aware that there’s some concern in the community, and we will absolutely consider that, but really our involvement at this stage is just slightly cart before the horse,” said Gill.
“They’re completely within their right, and they should feel as though their voice will be heard if there’s a real issue in the community that can be addressed, either by way of denying the application or addressing some of the concerns to see if positive change can be reached and a compromise reached by both sides.”
Gill also noted any applicant has to have several requirements in place — including municipal approval — for the bar to open before requesting a liquor licence.
“There would be a number of conditions that would need to be met as a part of the application process, and that’s non-negotiable,” said Gill.