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Ban on liquor in reserves

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012

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A number of Glen Innes reserves will soon be alcohol-free at all times.

The 24/7 liquor ban was confirmed at an Auckland Council Regulatory and Bylaws Committee meeting on Friday.

A start date for the bans has not been decided but they could be introduced before the new year.

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board member Josephine Bartley says residents are hesitant to use the parks because of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour there.

"We want people to take ownership of the parks. It's about keeping our streets and our neighbourhood safe."

She says Glen Innes has six liquor stores within a 3km radius, one of which is open from 7am till 11pm.

"Alcohol is just everywhere in our community. [This ban] will put a message out there that drinking alcohol in our parks isn't normal behaviour."

The 24-hour bans were requested by police as an extension to the 8pm to 8am bans in the reserves.

Officers have received nearly 200 call-outs about disorderly behaviour in Maybury Reserve alone in the past year.

Sergeant Harry Henderson heads the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) in the area and has been working with local groups to improve community safety.

"I was ecstatic with the decision . . . It's one strategy to make Glen Innes the fantastic place to live in that it should be," he says.

The liquor bans have unanimous support from local stakeholders including the Glen Innes Family Centre, Housing New Zealand and Point England School. Off-licence liquor stores have agreed to an earlier closing time of 10pm.

Council approved a similar liquor ban in Wiri this year and the Neighbourhood Policing Team there has seen its parks become noticeably safer in the last six months.

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall says the decision is part of making Auckland the world's most liveable city.

"We need to ensure our people feel safe using our local parks and reserves and a 24/7 liquor ban is a positive step forward in making this happen."

In the past year the board has completed a number of playground and mural upgrades to make the area more pleasant to use.

The reserves affected by the ban make up a network connecting the community with the Glen Innes town centre, including Maybury Reserve, Talbot Park, Pt England Reserve and Wimbledon Reserve.

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- East And Bays Courier

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