Firehall to re-open

The Firehall is located at a plaza near the University of Waterloo. (Photo by Dana Silvestri)

The Firehall is located at a plaza near the University of Waterloo. (Photo by Dana Silvestri)

The Firehall, a local club in Waterloo, will be reopening its doors on April 25.

Firehall was closed for 40 days after violating a report issued by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). AGCO found that the club had been severely overcrowding.

Their normal capacity sits at 240 and on one occasion, the club had 436 patrons.

Additionally, Firehall was found to be serving minors and abusing bottle service.

After many warnings were issued, on March 16 an ACGO inspector visited the club and found that the practices had continued.

The agreement to allow Firehall to reopen was signed on March 26 without a hearing.

“AGCO issued a notice of proposal to revoke the license and also put an interim suspension order in place, which means that they [Firehall] were immediately exempt from selling and serving,” Lisa

Murray, a spokesperson for the AGCO, explained.

Murray also explained that certain conditions are placed on a license once it is revoked.

Three security guards must remain at the front of the club, with one concentrating on the patio and the sidewalk adjacent to it. Bottle service is restricted to one area of the establishment and that area has a capacity of 24 patrons. No minors are allowed in the club and security cameras will be put up and the footage must be available for 30 days.

Additionally, Firehall must put in a compliance plan that outlines their solutions to the problems and how they are going to manage the policies that will be put in place. If  new management is hired, they are required to submit this information to the AGCO in writing.

When asked by The Cord what would happen if Firehall was found to be violating the issues that permitted their license to be revoked, Murray said that “if any establishment were to be found breaching a condition, it is a serious matter.”

Since Firehall has been serving minors, bottle service abuse and overcrowding as conditions on their license, if they are discovered repeating these conditions, it will not be taken lightly by AGCO.

“If you have had issues with minors and you now have a condition on your license that specifically excludes minors, usually conditions are put on a license because of issues that have happened so it is to prevent that issue from happening again,” said Murray.

AGCO inspectors are sent to all establishments in Ontario, but some are visited more frequently due to their reputation.

“Inspectors are there to observe and report,” Murray expressed. Their job is to attend an establishment and seek out any kind of breaching of liquor laws, including underage serving and overcrowding.

Firehall was unavailable for comment.

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