Arriving at work Friday, employees at the Boathouse restaurant and music house in Kitchener’s Victoria Park were greeted by a sign telling them the venue had closed its doors.

In a media release, the City of Kitchener says the business “is not in compliance with the lease agreement” but owner Kevin Doyle “remains in control of the premises.”

The city says Doyle owes the city five months’ rent and utility costs, but has until the end of Friday to address the issue – after which action may be taken.

Doyle did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but did post a statement on the Boathouse’s Facebook page saying he was “forced out” and thanking patrons for their support.

“I have been trying to negotiate a solution, with the city, for months with no success,” reads the statement.

“It kills me to say goodbye to our boathouse but I am left no choice.”

The facility was previously the centre of a public debate in 2011, when a rent dispute between Doyle and the city nearly closed down the venue.