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Bar managers work to end price wars

Recommit to Good Neighbour Agreement to curb rowdiness in village

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"It’s all a bit of a grey area, but the basis of the Good Neighbour Agreement is that if we’re willing to work with the community, they’re willing to work with us. If you’re the guy who stands out because you have cheap drinks, or you’re the guy who has all of the fights, or if you’re creating the problems, you’re going to have a harder time getting through all the different levels in the municipality."

One example is the province now allows bars to apply to increase their licensed capacity to the capacity established by the fire marshal. The Resort Municipality of Whistler has to approve those applications before they go to the province, and Gibbons says that bars that have a good record of complying with the Good Neighbour Agreement will have a better case.

Another area where compliance is a benefit is in applying for RMOW approval for renovations and other liquor licence changes.

"Liquor laws do change with time, and when you apply for those changes… a lot of them have to go by council or the muni," said Gibbons. "It’s better for you if they say ‘this group is in good standing with the Good Neighbour Agreement, because they are keeping track. Bars have to be answerable for their records."

That said, Gibbons said that the management group at Friday’s meeting is the strongest he has seen in years, noting that the "black sheep" owners and managers from the past have left town.

"One thing within (the bar community) is that we have a good relationship right now, all of the different managers are coming together for these different meetings. We also have a great relationship with the RCMP and the municipality, we’re all working together and meeting regularly so everything gets on the table that needs to be resolved, and we won’t see the bar wars we saw years ago."

For their part the RCMP is satisfied that the bars have renewed their commitment to the Good Neighbour Agreement.

"As long as the bars are operating within the law, there’s nothing we can do. But the bar owners here have always gone an extra step with the Good Neighbour Agreement, and we think it’s a good program and we’re glad it’s still a priority for them," said RCMP community policing officer Devon Jones.

"We were aware of the drink specials being offered, and we were keeping an eye on that. It was still a long way from being a free-for-all, we were not seeing anything we didn’t already see before the specials were being offered – it’s always busy for us at this time of year.

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