Liquor board rejects mayor's plan to keep bars open until 6 a.m.
The Quebec liquor board has rejected a pilot project by the City of Montreal to extend bar hours until 6 a.m.
The decision by the Régie des alcohols, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) comes after two days of public hearings in court last week, debating whether some bars on Crescent and St-Denis Sts. would stay open all night.
According to the organization, this project is "contrary to the public interest" and "likely to disturb public tranquility."
"The design and planning of such an important and sensitive project is lacking," the agency said in its decision.
"A project such as this merits taking the time to reflect and to document its feasibility in light of similar experiences elsewhere in the world."
The commissioners stated that city employees who testified at the hearings seemed surprised no analysis done was done.
Mayor Denis Coderre championed the idea, saying he didn't see any reason why watering holes shouldn't be allowed to sell booze until 6 a.m. -- a three-hour extension of current licensing laws.
"Listen, we are a metropolis," he said in a prior interview. "If it's good for Berlin and Sydney, Australia, I don't see why we can't do that."
Coderre said Thursday he thinks the decision is a missed opportunity.
"I think they made a mistake but we'll respect (the decision) because it's a court, it's an administrative court, he said.
"I think Montreal lost a tremendous opportunity but I think there's a reality check, hey it will happen one day, so we will pick it up from there."
The mayor said he believes extending bar hours will solve middle of the night security issues.
He also wrote two tweets about the topic, saying the purpose of the project was to document the experience. He also said the Montreal police and alcohol awareness group Educ'alcool were on board with the plan.
Il est important de mentionner que le but du projet-pilote (4fds) était de documenter l'expérience pour par la suite partager avec la pop.— DenisCoderre (@DenisCoderre) June 11, 2014
Décision de la RACJQ: une occasion ratée pour Montréal. La sécurité était assurée (SPVM) et Educ'alcool était d'accord avec l'expérience.— DenisCoderre (@DenisCoderre) June 11, 2014
The mayor said the 3 a.m. last call causes security and noise problems because too many people head out into the streets at the same time.
The decision to reject the project was made one day ahead of the plan to open 19 drinking establishments until 6 a.m. as of Thursday night.
The bars would stay open late on weekends only until July 5.
With files from The Canadian Press