Bar’s fate in hands of appeal board

A decision on the future of a Red Deer nightclub is now in the hands of the Red Deer Appeal and Review Board.

A decision on the future of a Red Deer nightclub is now in the hands of the Red Deer Appeal and Review Board.

The board has 15 days to deliver a written decision to Quan Diep, of Calgary, owner of Tequila Nightclub in Red Deer.

Diep and his lawyer, Dana Carlson, appeared because they were appealing a decision to revoke the nightclub’s business license, made in September by the city’s inspection and licensing department.

Diep acknowledged the bar was over capacity when 18 officers from the Red Deer Public Safety Compliance Team entered the premises late on Aug. 21 and into the early morning of Aug. 22.

The city sent a letter to Diep saying they would revoke his business license after the walkthrough in August found 12 minors in the drinking establishment.

A head count done by two members of the Red Deer Emergency Services determined there were about 225 people in the business, which is only permitted 100.

Carlson said Diep is ashamed that minors were allowed into his establishment, but said that matter is before the courts.

The appellant raised the question of the reasoning behind the decision to revoke his license. The letter notifying the decision to revoke his license was received on Sept. 10 and it said his business must be closed by Sept. 17. Carlson said this was not enough notice and wondered if there was an agenda behind it.

“I don’t know how the decision was reached,” said Carlson, adding the penalty was too severe.

Carlson said he didn’t think there was a reasonable amount of interaction between the appellant and the city.

However, Erin Stuart, Red Deer permits and licensing supervisor, said the decision to revoke the license was based on the seriousness of the offences.

“We do feel we met with Diep on a number of occasions, as well as by phone and email,” said Stuart.

Carlson said he wanted to see a comparative analysis of these transgressions with other establishments in the city and determine how this conclusion was reached.

In his final comments Carlson said Diep acknowledged the building was over capacity when the public safety team entered.

“It was not a typical night,” said Diep. “It was a little busier than usual that night.”

Stuart, said the decision to revoke was not made arbitrarily and falls within the city’s purview in regards to the bylaw.

Concerns regarding Tequila Nightclub were raised in January after a stabbing occurred across the street. As a result of the stabbing additional security measures were required by the licensing department for the bar to remain open.

Tequila Nightclub has remained open two nights a week since the appeal was launched.

This was the appellant’s second appearance before the board on Oct. 24. The initial appearance, on Oct. 9, was adjourned so the appeal board and the appellant could review the security footage, which the city owned.

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