Council may allow alcohol at park concerts

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 09:14 23/07/2014

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People should be able to bring alcohol along with a picnic to concerts at Pollard Park in Blenheim, Marlborough District councillors say, but they are uncomfortable with wine sales at the events.

Marlborough 4 Fun have applied for permission to have BYO alcohol at the Pollard Park summer concerts and to allow a potential winery sponsor to sell wine there.

The events company would still have to obtain a special liquor licence from the district licensing authority before it could serve alcohol at the concerts.

The council's assets and services committee considered the application at its meeting yesterday, and councillors were ambivalent about the idea.

They changed the recommendation to emphasise it was the council as the owner of the park allowing Marlborough 4 Fun to allow BYO alcohol and sales, rather than allowing the events organiser to promote alcohol.

Several councillors said they were uncomfortable about commercial sales of one product being promoted over others.

Councillor Cynthia Brooks said she was comfortable with people being able to bring their own food and drinks to the concerts. However, not everyone wanted to drink wine, and she was not comfortable with the commercial option of wine.

Councillor Peter Jerram said he agreed with that.

"Consumption, yes. Sale, no."

Councillor John Leggett, who also chairs the district licensing authority, said councillors needed to focus on what they were being asked to consider. As the property owner, the council was being asked if it would approve alcohol at events in Pollard Park.

"We're not to decide what alcohol it is or where it would be located. That's the special licence requirement and that's separate."

Councillor Geoff Evans said changing the recommendation to "allow" rather than "encourage" or "promote" would be more appropriate.

Marlborough 4 Fun would be looking to get some money from the winery sponsorship to run their event, which should be considered, he said.

Councillor Brian Dawson said the application was "reasonable" and he was confident the district licensing authority would make the right decision. "I think we should allow it to go forward."

Marlborough 4 Fun chief executive Katrina Lange said they were looking to do the concerts "a bit differently" this year, aiming for an opera in the park-type event where people could have a glass of wine while listening to music in family-friendly surroundings.

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