Christchurch City Council looks to resolve alcohol policy objections

Nineteen groups and individuals appealed Christchurch City Council's local alcohol policy.

Nineteen groups and individuals appealed Christchurch City Council's local alcohol policy.

The Christchurch City Council is considering ways to resolve the concerns of people objecting to tighter alcohol restrictions in the city.

Nineteen organisations and individuals appealed to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) on aspects of the council's May decision to introduce controversial new rules restricting when alcohol could be sold in the city.

The provisional Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) restricted off-licence hours from 9am to 9pm and would force most bars to close at 1am. Only bars and nightclubs in a small central city zone would be allowed to stay open beyond that.

The most opposition came from people and groups, including the Hospitality Association, who considered the 1am closing for Victoria St bars to be unreasonable.

Supermarkets and bottle stores – including Progressive Enterprises, Foodstuffs, The Mill and Independent Liquor – were against the restriction of off-licence hours of 9am to 9pm.

University of Canterbury Students' Association also appealed, along with Christchurch Casino and the Canterbury District Health Board.

At its meeting on Thursday, the council would consider whether to set up a working party of five councillors to negotiate with the groups who had appealed, in a bid to come to a resolution before the ARLA hearing.

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A council staff report said there was no obligation on the council or appellants to attempt to resolve issues before a hearing, but ARLA encouraged parties to discuss matters and reduce the time required for a hearing.

Staff said pre-hearing negotiations were likely to resolve some issues, but others would require a public hearing and determination by ARLA.

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A date for a hearing was yet to be set, but would be sometime in 2016. 

 - Stuff


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