Uni moves against campus booze ban

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 05:00 16/07/2014

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The Canterbury University campus could be exempt from a proposed surrounding alcohol ban, but the public may object to it, the Christchurch City Council says.

Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr was considering putting up "fences and gates" if its students were at risk of being fined for drinking even during backyard barbecues on campus.

The council bylaw proposes to introduce a permanent alcohol ban in areas where temporary bans have previously been in place. But an amendment to the Local Government Act means its definition of a public place has to change.

The government change means that some privately owned places open to and used by the public, such as car parks, gardens, roads and the campus, can now be policed and $250 fines issued when drinking within a ban.

Council acting strategic policy manager Claire Bryant said the council was required to use the new public place definition.

It was possible the university could still be exempt from the ban, even if the ban surrounded the campus, but "residents and other groups may object if they felt this reduced the effect of an alcohol ban in the area".

Any licensed premises were still able to operate, and event organisers could apply for special alcohol licences.

Previous Ilam and Upper Riccarton Residents' Association member Jane Tyler-Gordon, who wrote its original submission, said its support of the ban was in reference to the Bush Inn Centre and supermarket car parks and it did not appreciate the difficulty it would create for the university when it made the submission.

"It's not as if we were going against the university," she said.

While Carr supported making the temporary alcohol ban around the campus permanent, he believed there were "potential unintended consequences of the bylaw".

Its land, including University Drive, Ilam Fields and Heritage Gardens were policed by its own security staff with its own alcohol and smoking bans, but it meant exemptions could be given for events.

"We believe the council has options in enacting the alcohol bylaw that would avoid these unintended consequences by not including the area of the campus." It was important council processes took place and the university would voice its position at the public hearing.

A Department of Internal Affairs spokeswoman said the December 2013 amendments to the act were part of the reform of alcohol legislation that was incorporated into the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

The university and residents' association were two of 16 submissions made about the proposed bylaw, and they will be addressed at a hearing on July 24.

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