Council still won't have a bar of bar's beam

The exposed beam at the centre of the controvery which is preventing Tokoroa's Wawa Eatery from opening.
LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

The exposed beam at the centre of the controvery which is preventing Tokoroa's Wawa Eatery from opening.

Disagreement with a local council over an exposed beam in a new Tokoroa restaurant and bar continues to prevent its opening.

South Waikato District Council staff met with Wawa Eatery, in Bridge St, owner Lorraine Young last Monday over the issue.

Young has spent several months setting up the business with a trendy industrial theme.

Contention over an exposed beam is preventing Lorraine Young from opening her new restaurant and bar in Tokoroa.
LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

Contention over an exposed beam is preventing Lorraine Young from opening her new restaurant and bar in Tokoroa.

She is now ready to open but the council is refusing to let her due to an exposed beam above the bar area potentially catching dust and falling into drinks.

READ MORE: Tokoroa bar's beam plan halts opening

During the meeting Young said the council also highlighted issues with a staff sink and the exclusion of a door into the kitchen area which was in the original plan. Issues which she said can be worked through easily enough.

She said the main issue, however, continues to surround the exposed beam which the council has said must be covered.

Despite exposed beams being common in restaurants throughout the country and not being questioned when the South Waikato District Council granted its initial consent, the council continues to stay firm on its decision.

Communications manager Kerry Fabrie said the council must abide by Food Hygiene Regulations which under Schedule 1 (Requirements for registration for premises), clause 4 (ceiling b) it states 'all trusses shall be completely enclosed'.

Young continues to dispute this and said "discretion can be used" when it comes to interpreting the regulation as other council's have done. She has now taken the matter to the Ministry of Primary Industries to have the decision overturned.

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"[The council's] environmental health manager John Anderson has said to me if MPI come back and say it could be left uncovered he would still not allow it. It is just ridiculous," she said.

Communications manager Kerry Fabrie said officers are delegated the authority to perform their duties as per legislation.

"In this case, there are various reasons why the officer has chosen not to use discretion and has advised MPI accordingly. It is not appropriate that the council detail these concerns through the media," she said.

"It is the view of the authorised officer that, based on history and experience, enclosing the beam is the only appropriate mitigation of risk."

Young said she feels things could run deeper.

"I am trying to be a restaurant bar but he is taking it always as a nightclub bar with hard out drinking. It is Tokoroa, it is never going to be like that," she said.

"If it did turn out to be like that, close me down because I would not be operating under my licence but don't put the barriers up before I even get it up and running."

Fabrie disputed the claim.

"Council staff remain committed to doing their job, to the best of their ability, under the legislation to ensure public health and safety and minimise harm from the sale and supply of alcohol," she said.

 - Stuff

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