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Struggling Campbell River bar will get later closing times on trial

A struggling Campbell River bar will be able stay open a little later at night on a trial basis.

City council approved a one year trial last night for JJ’s Pub on Cedar Street to be open until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 a.m. on Sunday. That’s an extra hour on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and two extra hours on Sunday.

The move comes despite objections from RCMP and two nearby businesses – the owner of 1302 Shoppers Row and Berwick by the Sea. The RCMP says there are “safety and security issues” including “fights/assaults in and around the property.”

Coun. Ben Lanyon, who owns property next to JJ’s, doesn’t have an issue with the trial.

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“I own the building right next door and the business just across the street from that and, I’m not a patron of JJ’s, but I have had personally no issues with them as a neighbour and, in fact, I find that they increase the sense of security in the area,” Lanyon said.

Mayor Kermit Dahl runs a business with young men with young wives or girlfriends and says the city can’t afford to lose its only night spot for younger people.

“There is only one club in this town and if it’s already struggling in six months or a year we could have zero clubs. I have never been inside the club since it was renovated but I hear good things,” Dahl said.

Coun. Sean Smyth was also “cautiously supportive” of the trial, weighing the strain on the RCMP and downtown businesses, with keeping a business viable.

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JJ’s Pub owner Salvatore Guzzo says the club has been struggling since the pandemic because consumer behaviour changed – people are not coming in until midnight – which has lead to less revenue for the bar and tips for the wait staff.

The one year trial is not a done deal yet – it still needs to be approved by the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

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