Two days of liquor board hearings began Thursday morning at the Montreal courthouse — over the city's plan to allow some bars to stay open until 6 a.m., and serve alcohol until 5:30 a.m.
A judge will decide whether to allow some — or all — bars to stay open later, after testimony from city officials — and from groups that oppose the pilot project.
The city only consulted the Ville-Marie borough and Destination Centre-Ville to select Crescent and St. Denis Sts. for the project — the bars who wanted in needed to apply.
When the judge asked about tracking complaints and increased police surveillance, the city said it will be business as usual.
The owner of the Hotel Quartier Latin, Ricky Gandhi, is among those challenging the project. He says the city is not prepared for the potential consequences of opening bars later.
"It doesn't really look like they did a good job on deciding who gets to be open and what's going to happen once the pilot project kicks into action," he says. "There's enough ruckus and trouble going on on the street as it is, and now if we allow people to stay until 6 and serve alcohol, we're just making the problem even bigger."
The hearings are taking place on the 9th floor of the Montreal courthouse and are open to the public.
Bar owner Peter Sergakis tells CJAD News he'll be at the hearings — not to block the pilot project, but because he doesn't agree with the number of bars participating and the duration of the project.
“It should have been two weeks, in the entire Ville-Marie borough, because now everyone is going to go to the same bars for five weeks, and the other bars are going to lose business,” Sergakis said.
If the city gets the green light from the liquor board, as of June 12, 19 bars on Crescent and St. Denis Sts. will be open until 6 a.m. for four consecutive weekends.