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Nightclubs frustrated they can’t get extensions

RMOW stands firm on closing time, making it difficult for managers to compete for world-class talent



Michael Hofbauer knew he had "knocked the ball out of the park" when he convinced the world's best DJ to play at his nightclub during the Olympics.

Armin van Buuren consistently plays to crowds of 100,000 people and was voted the number one DJ by DJ Magazine in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Getting him to come to Whistler was as big as you get in the entertainment industry, said the manager of Garfinkel's.

"That is our part of putting Whistler on the map," he said with passion.

But, Hofbauer's ability to continue to bring in world-class entertainment like Van Buuren is being severely hampered by the municipality's policy on late night entertainment.

His frustration started during the Olympics, when the municipality told nightclubs they could only stay open for 30 minutes later than usual, rather than the hour nightclubs had hoped for.

That vexation continues today.

Last week, paralleling the Olympic decision, council decided that four nightclubs hosting concerts for the Crankworx Deraylor Music Festival could not stay open for an extra hour during three nights in August. Hofbauer along with managers at Maxx Fish, Moe Joe's and Tommy Africa's had all hoped to keep their doors open until 3 a.m. for acts like DJ Nu-Mark from Jurassic 5, Mike Relm and BCDC.

The municipality's main reasoning behind keeping the hours the same during the Olympics and Crankworx concerns policing costs, noise in the village and late-night transportation.

"Our staff recommendation is that the noise impacts would be serious," said Frank Savage, planner for the municipality, during last week's council meeting before council unanimously voted against the extension. "You can have lots of police and you can maintain safety and order, but you can't keep noise down. We get complaints with the 2 a.m. closing and we know we would be getting more with 3 a.m."

The mayor added last week that the Hotel Association also has concerns about the late night noise and family unfriendly activities.

"I know my son has experienced the unsafe nature of the village and it is quite scary as a parent," said the mayor.  "I am not convinced that even with more police we can get a safer village."

But Hofbauer says these policies are handcuffing the talent that nightclub operators can bring in.

"Garf's has knocked the ball out of the park in terms of booking entertainment," said the Garfinkel's manager. "For that to get looked over and passed over because people are afraid of a couple noise complaints late at night is absurd."

He said the situation is more frustrating because all of the reasons the municipality brought up when deciding not to grant a full hour extension during the Olympics - like rowdy noise and transportation issues - were not issues during the Games.