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Closed nightclub could re-open: city

A downtown nightclub forced to shut down last week due to public safety concerns can be resurrected, says a City of Red Deer official.

Inspections and Licensing Department manager Howard Thompson said that although operators of the Tequila Nightclub lost their business licence, they could end up reopening following a City of Red Deer review.

The Drinking Establishment Bylaw requires that applicants list all the directors and business owners of the company. Those operators could come back with a new application and just change the name of the nightclub.

“If an application is received for that location, it would be reviewed in light of the intent of the Drinking Establishment Bylaw and all the safety and public welfare concerns,” said Thompson.

It’s also likely that new operators could step in and apply for a licence for that location, he added. This would be reviewed in context of the Drinking Establishment Bylaw too, Thompson said.

Quan Diep of Calgary opened the Tequila Nightclub at 5004 48th St. in November 2010.

The premises were previously the site of The Plaza nightclub, which Diep had going for a year, but its dress code and cover charge didn’t catch on with the Red Deer crowd.

On Thursday, the city’s business licence for Tequila was revoked after Diep, represented by Red Deer lawyer Dana Carlson, lost his appeal to keep his business licence.

The Red Deer Appeal and Review Board upheld a city administrative decision in September to take away Diep’s licence.

He appealed and while this process was happening, the nightclub remained opened.

The city made its decision because conditions had not been fully complied with in regards to security, video recorders, metal detectors and access to the nightclub.

The letter also made reference to two alleged breaches of regulations related to public safety, including exceeding licensed capacity and allowing individuals under 18 to be present.

Thompson said the city hasn’t received any application regarding the Tequila location.

This is the first instance where a business licence was revoked under the Drinking Establishment Bylaw. City council passed the bylaw in August 2004.

The Advocate was unable to reach Diep’s lawyer on Tuesday.

During a hearing with the review board, Diep said he was embarrassed that underage patrons were allowed and that staff responsible for checking ID at that time were fired.

He also argued that revocation of the licence was made arbitrarily, with no means of measuring whether or not it was reasonable.

Diep also said he has a 10-year history of operating drinking establishments and has never encountered issues to this extent.

A dozen charges of allowing minors inside the Tequila Nightclub were adjourned in Red Deer provincial court last week. The case returns to court on Dec. 17 when pleas are expected to be entered.

ltester@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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