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Bar safety group strives to enhance the Sylvan Lake experience

“We’ve stopped a lot of undesirable people walking up and down the strip”
File photo

Endeavouring to offer patrons a pleasant experience by avoiding unscrupulous customers, several Sylvan Lake bars have united to form a bar safety group.

Resulting from the bustling streets during summer, The Driftwood restaurant came up with an idea to mitigate crime and caution other businesses of any unwarranted behaviour from particular individuals.

Using two-way radios and a group chat, businesses regularly communicate information of distressing and violent customers, often resulting in their ban from the entire group of bars. The initiative was officiated in time for the 2021 season and has banned about 10 individuals to date.

Members of the core group comprise The Driftwood, Chief’s Pub & Eatery, Son of a Beach and Fireside Restaurant & Lounge, with nearly five other businesses partially involved.

“It’s been a successful group,” said The Driftwood owner Ian Cotton. “We’ve stopped a lot of undesirable people walking up and down the strip … making it a much more safer place to enjoy.”

Following a June 16 shooting on Lakeshore Drive leaving one man injured, the bar safety group was immediately notified with a lock down alert.

“That way, we keep the trouble out.”

Members of the group also assist one another by sharing security personnel when required.

While the initiative is still firming up to a formal group of bars, Cotton said there has been a huge reduction in altercations and disputes around local businesses.

To offer additional space for businesses and patrons alike, Lakeshore Drive from 50 Street to 46 Street will be completely closed to road traffic from June 21 to Sept. 5.