A proposed Internet gaming café has received a green light from town council.
Mark Steeves spoke to council about his business plan at the Sept. 9 meeting.
He feels the gaming cafe will fill a niche in the community.
“It is our intention to address the need identified in the recreational master plan regarding shortcomings in spontaneous use facilities,” he said. “We are focusing on the positive aspects of gaming rather than dwelling on the negative aspects the media has tied to the activity.”
Steeves, who plans to open his new business in the old creamery, wants to create a fun, healthy and safe environment.
The implementation of the WWW social gaming platform, house league LAN competitions and fantasy board gaming space will be set up with 16 to 35-yearolds targeted.
Violent games will not be available for children aged eight to 13, he said.
Youth between 13 and 15 years will need a signed permission slip as well as verbal parental consent to play games with violent content.
“We recognize as parents ourselves the negative impact that some of the more violent games pose on some of the more vulnerable youth and have taken steps to limit the younger aspect of our clients to more age suitable games,” he said.
Steeves believes gaming in a social setting provides a positive atmosphere for youth.
“What we truly believe to be the worst thing about gaming is the amount of time a youth will spend isolated, shut off from the real world and immersed in a virtual world of the first person shooter game. Mix this with low self-esteem or depression or onset undiagnosed mental illness and you have a ticking time bomb.”
Gaming at an Internet café provides a social environment that is fun-packed and ripe with opportunities of new friendships based on same interests and the introduction of new interests, he added.
“All of a sudden the awkward teenager has his glory days. It is these often very gifted individuals that need an outlet where they fit in, a place where they can shine.”
“We have a vision of a business that acts as a social hub for the youth of our community. We are for profit. We are not there to act as a councillor for your children; we’re strictly there to entertain. There will be a zero tolerance on bullying, drugs and alcohol and any evidence of breaking this policy will result in a call to the police and permanent banning. An adult staff member will always be duty. It is our vision to provide a safe place to play for everyone.”
The café will be open from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. daily. A snack bar will be available and wireless Internet access provided. Adult learning will have access to the building during non-peak hours.
Coun. Scott Ellis liked the business proposal. “I like the idea you are trying to create a sense of community. To me that’s a valid point.”
“I don’t see any problem with the proposal,” said Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson. “Any new venture in town is always good.”
Steeves is hoping to be open for business later this month.