Suspension program having a positive impact

‘We have approximately 50 names on the list now'

Published on January 25, 2013
Lindsay Parker, left, and Cindy Hanlan, manager and waitress respectively at Champions Bar & Grill, have seen positive changes within the establishment since the Truro and Bible Hill Safe Bar Association implemented its bar suspension program more than a year ago. Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News
Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News

TRURO - A bar suspension program implemented just over a year ago by the Truro and Bible Hill Safe Bar Association has produced positive results.

"Overall, we've seen a significant drop in alcohol-related occurrences," said Lindsay Parker, manager of Champions Bar & Grill on Robie Street. "It's an opportunity for us to work together with the authorities to increase our customer care and safety.

"I think there's been a more positive atmosphere with our patrons."

The suspension program made its debut locally in late December of 2011 with 10 establishments participating. The concept was simple, too. Cause a problem in one establishment and you risk getting barred from all of them.

Drugs, fighting, instigating a fight, carrying a weapon, theft or property damage are just a few obvious examples that can lead to a suspension, the length of which varies depending on the severity of the situation.

The longest suspension is indefinite, however those are reviewed on an annual basis.

"We have approximately 50 names on the list now," said Parker. "Originally the list was a little bit higher, but those repeat offenders have remained on the list. Each is dealt with on a case-by-case basis."

Parker said the staff at Champions hasn't run into any issues when explaining to someone that they won't be admitted because they are on the list.

"And it's also a good escalation tool," she said, adding some patrons quickly change their attitude when they learn they could be barred.

Split Crow's manager Monique Gallant said having the list on hand is an excellent tool.

"It's extremely important for everyone entering the pub," she said. "We don't have a lot of people trying to enter that are on the list, but having it is an absolutely great thing.

"It helps everyone coming inside because they know that those that continuously cause problems aren't in there."

Truro Police Service Chief Dave MacNeil is pleased to see the program has made an impact.

"We do know it has made a difference in the safety of the downtown," he said. "We applaud their efforts with the program and we're very supportive of it."

MacNeil said the program deters offenders from causing disturbances from establishment to establishment.