Central city bars might be open longer hours
CHARLEY MANN AND JOELLE DALLY
Suburban bars may be forced to close earlier than those in the new central city in a bid to curb anti-social behaviour.
Christchurch police say they are working on a new alcohol policy that would allow owners of certain properties in the new central business district to obtain late-night licences.
In other areas, bars and clubs would have to close earlier.
Alcohol strategy and enforcement team leader Sergeant Al Lawn said police were working with the Christchurch Central Development Unit, the city council and others on the policy, which would be standardised across the Canterbury police district.
"There will definitely be a late, late area," he said.
Unit director Warwick Isaacs said that though there were no designated nightlife areas in the blueprint for the central city, there were three "logical" places.
These were around a new convention centre and arts- cultural precinct, SOL Square and lower High St near the proposed stadium, and what was the Oxford Tce Strip.
Isaacs envisaged three "distinct flavours" to those areas, but their development would effectively be up to private businesses.
Nightlife was part of the attraction of any central city, but liquor licensing hours were up to the council and police.
"We wouldn't have a view on it," Isaacs said.
Lawn said crime and anti- social behaviour associated with nightlife could be better managed by ensuring revellers had access to reliable transport to get home instead of roaming the streets.
"Look at what we saw with [Papanui] Club 22. The add- ons that came with the drinking - disorder in the street, cars, people preloading," he said. "We need a plan that mitigates those risks. It is pretty important, not just in terms of noise but about crime prevention through environmental design."
Aikmans and Bardello general manager Steve Holmes said he was not concerned about losing custom to the new city centre because Merivale had been popular long before the earthquakes.
However, he had been wary of opening a venture in Addington because of the temporary atmosphere there.
Once the city centre was running, owners could be "left holding the can".
"I hope that doesn't happen," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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