The owner of the local casino wants to make drinking and gambling more accessible for his patrons.
At tonight's city council meeting, the floor is open to the public to make their comments regarding expanding the liquor license at Treasure Cove Casino.
The casino's current license allows liquor service in the show lounge - which holds 200 people - and in the cafe - which seats 57. The amendment application proposes expanding the licensed area to include the slot and gaming areas as well as the poker room This would add 959 seats to the current license's occupant load, bringing it to 1216 people.
The hours of liquor sale would not change, remaining from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and none of the additions are for outdoor areas.
According to the city's liquor license policy, which was adopted in 2004, a maximum occupant load of 125 people is suggested for businesses outside of the downtown core. But council may increase or decrease that number on a case-by-case basis.
In 2010, council granted Treasure Cove's application from a food-primary liquor license to an alcohol primary one.
City staff are recommending council approve the application.
"The proposed amendments will facilitate a greater degree of flexibility in the delivery of the casino's primary focus: entertainment and gaming services," said planner Jesse Dill in the report to council. "Liquor service is a secondary service provided to patrons upon request."
The planning department's recommendation has the support from the leaders for the neighbouring community association.
A letter submitted to council by Van Bien Community Association director Richard Duval says that casino owner John Major met with him and association president Randy Potskin to discuss the application.
"We do not anticipate a negative impact on our neighbourhood as a result of the proposed changes and we support Treasure Cove Casino's application to expand the area of liquor service," Duval wrote.
However, the city has also received letters from other neighbours who are not as on board with the plan.
Long-time Aitken Crescent resident Denise Wasnik said the change will increase vehicle and foot traffic in the area, "bringing with it more concerns about drinking and riving, thefts and undesirable people."
Neighbour Bruce Rogers said he has observed intoxicated people fighting and yelling as well as drug deals taking place from their house adjacent to the casino - which an expanded license would only make worse. He asked that if council approves the application, they get an agreement in writing from the casino to "increase security on its grounds to ensure that neither its clients and non-clients are loitering and/or causing disturbances on casino property or the immediate adjacent properties."
Prince George mayor Shari Green said council will take all of these opinions into consideration when deliberating their level of support for the application.
"But certainly, this style of liquor license does exist in other casino venues in other parts of the province, so it's not unusual," she said.
The public hearing portion of the meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the second-floor council chambers.