By Ed Hore
YQNA recently won a legal victory against the Cabana Pool Bar in the Ontario Divisional Court. The effect is that the outdoor nightclub won’t be authorized to make more amplified noise than it’s already making.
The nightclub owners already had a liquor licence that allowed thousands of people outside at Cabana Pool Bar, and to have amplified music until 11 pm on weekends. They applied for a new licence that they hoped would allow them to have a lot more people and make more noise for longer hours.
The Toronto Islanders, City Council and YQNA objected. I represented YQNA pro bono.
After a 17-day hearing in 2017, the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) granted the nightclub a new licence, but with a condition that prohibited amplified music outside. It found Islanders had been disturbed by loud music, and that the nightclub’s efforts to control noise had been casual and ineffective. The new licence was worse than the old one from the point of view of the nightclub.
On appeal, the Ontario Divisional Court upheld the Licence Appeal Tribunal in a lengthy decision released on June 14, 2021.
The Court dismissed the City’s cross-appeal which argued that the nightclub owners couldn’t apply for a new liquor licence because they already had one for the same premises through a related corporation. Nothing in the wording of the statute prevented the second licence application, said the Court.
The odd result is that the nightclub’s owners can, it seems, pick and choose which liquor license they like better: they’ll still probably stick with the old one because it allows amplified music outside.
But at least the recent decision prevents the nightclub from getting the licence it wanted. The loud music problem may not get better, but at least won’t get worse.
Both the nightclub and the City need permission to appeal. We don’t know yet if either will try.
Edward Hore is a lawyer, former chair of YQNA and founding chair of Waterfront for All.