Residents upset over possible waterfront nightclub expansion
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, January 19, 2017 1:01PM EST
A nightclub complex with a capacity of more than 15,000 people could be coming to the city’s waterfront despite objections from city council and some neighbourhood groups.
Powerhouse Corp., which owns Polson Pier’s Rebel nightclub and the adjoining Cabana Pool Bar, has applied for a new liquor licence for the site that would dramatically increase its maximum capacity and remove several existing restrictions surrounding noise and the staging of outdoor live events.
The application calls for a capacity of 7,584 people inside the venue and capacity for another 7,971 on outdoor patios. The current liquor licence for the complex caps the indoor capacity at 3,163 people and the outdoor capacity at 2,510 people.
“I find this proposal really conflicts the idea of balanced development on the waterfront,” Ron Jenkins of the Greater Waterfront Coalition told CP24 on Thursday morning. “There is already a sizeable nightclub there now and this proposed licencing arrangement would put 15,000 people there with half of them at an outdoor venue where sound travels throughout the neighbourhood.”
Jenkins said the proposal to double the capacity at the Polson Pier site has concerned Toronto Islands residents as well as those living in the nearby Distillery District.
He said the proposal also conflicts with the city’s long-term plans to protect the Port Lands from flooding and eventually develop the area with a mix of commercial and residential space.
“The city’s development plans for that area would be incompatible in the longer view with such a large nightclub,” he said.
City plans to fight application
The Powerhouse Corp. application for a new liquor licence will be heard by the province's Licensing Appeals Tribunal on Feb. 9.
It is expected that representatives from the city will oppose or seek amendments to the new licence at that time.
In June, 2015 council voted in favour of a motion to advise the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario that the issuing of the licence is “not in the public interest having regard to the needs and wishes of the residents.”
The motion noted that the application aims to remove many of the restrictions that were put in place after the liquor licence for another facility known as the Docks was revoked and then restored back in 2006.
“With the proposed increase in capacity for both the indoor and outdoor areas, Powerhouse intends to operate the premises as an entertainment facility and outdoor concert venue similar to how the premises operated as the Docks,” it stated. “Without several of the conditions currently attached to the licence, the noise impacts on the island residents that led to the revocation of the liquor licence in 2006 may return.”