Controversial café to close in March
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Jan 10, 2017  |  Vote 0    0

Controversial café to close in March

Vibe name to be removed at the end of the lease

Ottawa West News

The Vibe Lounge in Hintonburg will close its doors for good on March 31.

The city suspended the cafés food premise license in December after a shooting death occurred a block south on Bayswater Avenue near Laurel Street.

Dozens of residents lined the chambers at Ben Franklin Place for the licence committee hearing on Jan. 10.

Doug Wallace, the chair of the committee, used to work as a city solicitor.

“These hearings don’t normally draw such a crowd,” he said at the beginning of the meeting.

Francine Levert and Dan Beaton, who live close to the Somerset Street West location, said they’re happy to see the place go.

Residents met with police and Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper at the Happy Goat Coffee Company on Nov. 10 to discuss ongoing violence and disruptive behaviour at Vibe.

“The police told us that much of the clientele is from the south end of Ottawa, Gatineau and Montreal, so it’s not a Hintonburg issue,” Beaton said, adding he thinks the café was being used as a neutral location for gangs to meet.

The building’s owner, Romeo Donatucci, was the one who originally applied for the food premise licence, his lawyer, Leonard Max said.

The café has also lost its liquor license and a city ban on hookah lounges will come into effect on April 3.

Max said the landlord will be on the look out for new tenants.

The café is on the ground floor, but there are other tenants at 1066 Somerset St. W.

Donatucci negotiated the deal with the city that would see the licence suspended until the end of the current lease. After March 31, a new application for the location can be made without prejudice, as long as no one involved with the current hookah café is involved with the application.

Leiper said the suspension of the Vibe Lounge’s licence and termination of the lease is good news for Hintonburg.

“I think the violence was really localized,” he said, adding that generally, the gentrification of Hintonburg has made it a safe place to live.

“The larger issue of where the clientele will go is more of a city-wide problem,” Leiper said, adding that he would like to see community-policing resources extend to Carlington.

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