BarWatch warns about increased violence on Granville strip

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An association for safe bars and nightclubs wants to see stricter rules for people looking to cause trouble in Vancouver’s entertainment district.

BarWatch’s chair Curtis Robinson says they’d like to see more conditions in place for repeat offenders who visit the Granville strip.

Curtis Robinson says court restrictions can be handed to people limiting their ability to go downtown, and says if people are offenders they shouldn’t be allowed to go to Vancouver or take transit.

“If this is an individual that comes in from Surrey – and I can almost guarantee you that a number of these people are from other jurisdictions, including Surrey – is that it will be their problem.”

READ MORE: Two men in hospital following stabbing on Granville strip

He says having restaurants or food joints open late does not help the situation.

“Right now, the way it is, is that you can hang around for an hour at a hotdog stand or Megabite Pizza or a number of other places. And there’s no motivation to leave the area. So a lot of the fights and scraps that happen, happen outside these areas. Not at nightclubs, outside of the food places.”

Three people are recovering from stab wounds following two separate, early morning knife attacks on the strip this weekend.

Accessibility can be harmful

Meanwhile, a UBC addictions expert says the City of Vancouver’s latest decision to review the liquor policy for Granville strip could backfire.

She says the number of ER visits increased as bars’ closing hours were extended a while back.

“Just this week I was talking to an emergency doc[tor] at Vancouver General and he said since Vancouver pushed back the closing hour of bars downtown to 3 a.m., it used to be 1 or 1:30, they’ve seen a doubling of their ER visit rates related to alcohol,” says Dr. Launette Rieb

READ MORE: Stabbing on Granville Street strip lands one man in hospital, suspect arrested

She says accessibility to liquor also has a negative effect.

“We really have quite a bit of availability. And when we increase that availability, there’s some direct harms.”

Rieb was a guest on the CKNW Weekend Show with Charmaine de Silva.

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