Balclutha liquor ban debate
From today residents can express their views about a proposal to extend the current liquor ban in Balclutha.
At a council meeting in February councillors agreed to publicly notify a liquor ban extension after the police expressed concerns about people drinking in certain areas, including a playground.
The change would result in an alcohol banned in the Cromer St playground and Cromer and Yarmouth streets next to the playground and Paisley St between Renfrew and Lanark streets.
A council report says the review was undertaken at the request of the Balclutha police who believed ''considerable improvement to their enforcement abilities in controlling nuisance and potentially harmful situations'' was possible if the ban was extended.
But at this month's council meeting, planning and regulatory manager David Campbell said he had since received another letter from the police now seeking to impose a liquor ban across the entire township of Balclutha.
The letter signalled officers were finding it difficult to police the area currently subject to the ban, he said.
While the request had arrived too late to be part of the council's current consultation process, it could be considered at a later date, Campbell said.
He suggested the council consider banning the ''hotspots'' already brought to its attention by the police and monitor what effect that had on people's drinking habits.
At the meeting, Councillor Hamish Anderson agreed with Campbell about monitoring the already suggested ban, and then consulting the police.
''We can keep extending the boundaries, but it doesn't address the problem, which is an attitudinal problem among young people.''
Councillor Gaynor Finch was worried a total liquor ban would push drinking into rural areas.
''Will it create drink driving issues if people jump in their vehicles and go outside the town boundaries to drink?''
She suggested more research was needed.Balclutha's current liquor ban goes from the Night n Day store on Essex St down to the intersection at Clyde St and Kakapuaka Rd, and covers some other public areas and side streets.
A copy of the proposal can be viewed on the Clutha District Council's website.
Submissions close at 5pm on May 16.
The Southland Times