City of Edmonton - Two Edmonton bars have been convicted and fined for overcrowding under the Alberta Fire Code and Alberta Safety Codes Act. On July 17, 2018, Nyala Lounge, located at 98 Street and 108 Avenue, pleaded guilty to a charge of overcrowding and received a fine of $3,000. The bar’s owner Mulugeta Tesfay was also fined $2,000. The charges are related to an incident of overcrowding on March 5, 2017. On May 14, 2018, Hudsons on Whyte Ltd pleaded guilty to overcrowding and received a $7,000 fine. The charges are related to overcrowding during an inspection on an Oilers playoff night on April 12, 2017.
“These occupancy limits help protect the public at Edmonton establishments,” said Mario Arrotta, Assistant Fire Marshal. “Fire Prevention Officers set the maximum occupant loads after taking into account the amount of floor space as well as the number, location and size of fire exits. Our goal is to ensure timely evacuation for both staff and patrons in the event of an emergency.”
Businesses can be fined up to $100,000 for a first overcrowding offence, and up to $500,000 for subsequent violations. The Alberta Provincial Court determines the amount of the fine. Hudsons and Nyala Lounge are the first venues convicted of overcrowding in Edmonton in 2018.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) has begun posting overcrowding convictions on the City’s website.
“We seldom see multiple infractions. We’ve found the majority of local businesses are as interested in public safety as we are and put in a real effort to meet all safety standards,” said Arrotta.
After EFRS sets occupant loads, they are monitored by the Edmonton Police Service, the Public Safety Compliance Team and fire officials, during routine inspections. In 2017, fire prevention officers conducted 176 night patrols and the Public Safety Team conducted 106 inspections.