The Port Struggles As Fire Officer Invades Concert – Permit Woes in Cornwall Ontario by Jamie Gilcig POLL

jg2CORNWALL Ontario – I was at the Port theatre last night.    It’s an original Roxy theatre that has struggled mightily to survive as it approaches its 75th anniversary.

They are still fund raising to add digital projection; but since the Sylvain family have bought it have cleaned it up and essentially saved it.

Larry Sylvain is the premier sound man in the region.     Thanks to his love of music and teaming up with promoter Jeff Brunet they’ve brought in over 25 events since they started working with the Port.

Some of which have been the first sell outs the building has seen in decades.

After running nearly two dozen licensed events without issue via caterers and charity events they decided they needed to get a liquor license themselves to ensure their survival as they were only getting a small portion of the proceeds.

And that sadly is becoming another Cornwall Ontario Small Business tragedy as they have been needled and tweezed by a permit department which one city official, off the record, cited as full of under paid rookies that don’t know their {DELETED} elbows.

Promoter Jeff Brunet suggested in the video above that this is an election issue and he’s right.  Business being able to open and operate without abuse or incompetence is critical to the growth of our community.  Likewise every time a business gets “Cornwalled” word spreads which is counterproductive.

The Port was stunned to have one of their caterers get a letter of warning from Inspector Crites which has resulted in several concerts being without liquor which has hurt attendance.

Mr. Crites stated that he was there to make sure that the theatre did not exceed the 114 seats allocated to alcohol service,citing washroom issues; but the theatre has over 500 seats and is a heritage property.

It’s similar to when the City wanted Table 21 to redo the staircase for a half an inch per riser or one pizza joint that literally was closed for 12 months waiting to open.

 There is apparently some discretionary space; but the question is why the city; Fire Marshall and ultimately Mr. Crites who showed up in uniform on a Saturday night to do a head count and heckle this writer about not being able to keep up with him climbing stairs to the balcony as seen in the video above.   After leaving Mr. Crites waited across the street watching for whatever it is the Mr. Crites watches for….

The Port did not go on record in an interview as they are hoping to keep their business rolling; but with five concerts coming up on the schedule the uncertainty of whether they can or cannot run licensed shows are weighing heavily for the business.  Clearly their frustration is mounting; especially as Winter is approaching which leads to higher overhead and a larger risk for weather related cancellations.

Mr. Brunet did mention some acts that want to book at the Port; but they can’t until they have certainty over their liquor license.

Not a single councilor has publicly shown support for the theatre which feeds into rumors that the city is hoping to have the theatre become the future home of its art centre as the lot next door to it can be purchased.   (the city currently leases it from the Emard family)

But for Larry, Nancy, and Nick, their labour of love continues and hopefully they can survive petty small town heavy handed politics.   After all the biggest complaint from people in Cornwall is that there’s nothing to do; especially for young people and the Port has become THE VENUE for our top talent, as well as one of the few not tax payer supported venues left in the city.

And it’s time for the city of Cornwall to do what is necessary to ensure that its permit department doesn’t hold back growth in our community.  IF we can find $500K for corporate welfare and millions on the mayor and council’s scandals of the last term, we should be able to pay the going rate for better permit staff as this is not a single anecdotal issue with a business having issues in bringing culture and life to our city.

What do you think Cornwall?  You can post your comments below.

Should the City of Cornwall Stop Jerking The Port Theatre Around & Give Them Their Liquor License?

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  1. Yet it was after just a couple of “tours” by city officials and a few “dances”, the Player’s Club had no problem getting a licence (no blackmail there I’m sure), and they got a licence even though their back fence shared the playground of a Catholic Primary School.

    And they even kept their licence after a patron left and wrapped a car around a tree in front of the Cornwall Police station leaving half a dozen kids without their mother.

    That in a nutshell is how to get a licence, and how to keep it.

  2. I know the few times I had liquor licences for stags, weddings, etc. we were visited by the LLBO, police and fire departments each and every time. Not the easiest thing to deal with in stressful situations.

  3. Unfortunate Jamie you chose not to post my comment. Don’t recall saying anything offensive or wrong…but I guess it just didn’t fit with your message? News is supposed to be impartial is it not?

  4. Clarification from: AEAD-MCAA (without prejudice)

    Special Occasion Permit

    Missing Children and Adults Association

    Non-Profit Organization

    Fundraising Missing children adults Association) Licence number: 0540-140038 / 0540-140039 Enfants et Adults Disparus, Assocociation Inc. Aug. 16, 22 & 23. 2014

    Important notice The permit is only holder (L’association des Enfants et Adultes Disparus Inc. / Missing Children and Adults Assocaition is legally responsible for this events Aug. 16, 22 & 23. 2014. Not Alkalin, Not Sylvain Sound Not Sonic Amusement Ltd… Know your responsiblities refer to the Liquor Licence Act and Regulations. The permit holder/responsible person as indicated on the permit/application must attend the event, if in person an emergency holder/reponsible person is unable to attend the event, the permit holder/responsible person must obtain the person’s written consent to designation, for futher details see over.

    Beverage alcohol must be purchased with this permit a t the LCBO. The Beer Store or any agency store, licensed Ontario Winery or Brewery of Distillery Store…

    This special permits is from Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming Commision of Ontario


    All Board member Missing Children Adults Association

    cc. Don White

  5. Save the Port !! Fight for what is right. It’s a great place and Cornwall, its yours !! Let me know what I can do.

  6. Just curious….if The Port gets its liquor license would that mean special permits for groups now “sponsoring” events at The Port would not need the license and lose profits from liquor sales and the profits would go to The Port?

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