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Friday, April 29, 2011

Ban on booze in two suburbs

Ban on booze in two suburbs

Last updated 05:00 29/04/2011
Alcohol has been banned from public places throughout Riccarton and Ilam until the end of November, and the ban could become permanent after that.

The Christchurch City Council crackdown on public drinking may be extended to Merivale-Papanui and Akaroa.

Councillors yesterday agreed to a temporary ban in the two western suburbs but rejected a call for a citywide ban.

Police and a community leader told the council a ban was needed in the Riccarton-Ilam area.

More people drink in the suburbs after the February 22 earthquake forced most inner-city bars to close.

The ban, which is scheduled to start on May 19, will run until November 30.

If research and feedback show the ban is working, it could become permanent in the two suburbs.

Senior Sergeant Peter Laloli said a total ban over the next six months, rather than having a 6pm to 6am ban, was easier to enforce. He said police would support a permanent ban in the area.

More than half of the police patrols now spend their shifts in those two suburbs.

Laloli rejected claims the patrols could compromise police resources that were needed across the city as officers could give warnings or issue court summons "on the spot".

Riccarton-Wigram Community Board chairman Mike Mora said residents "have had a gutsful" of alcohol-related trouble in their streets. "This [the ban] is what the people are asking for," he said.

Council staff said an investigation into possible bans in suburbs such as Merivale and Papanui could be finished next month.

The council agreed to a review of public drinking in Akaroa after Banks Peninsula councillor Claudia Reid tabled a 24-signature petition from residents and business owners wanting a ban there. Reid said "boorish" behaviour was not acceptable.

Ratepayers will have to pay about $16,000 for signs around Riccarton and Ilam to promote the temporary ban.

A motion from Shirley-Papanui councillor Aaron Keown calling for a one-year citywide alcohol ban did not win support.

Keown said the ban would stop alcohol-fuelled problems across the city, but council legal staff said only the Government had the power to introduce a citywide ban.

Councillors said they sympathised with Keown's motion but said staff had enough to do with a review of the Papanui, Merivale and Akaroa areas and consulting in the Riccarton-Ilam communities over the next six months.

The ban will apply 24 hours a day and seven days a week to all public spaces controlled by the council and to all roads, whether council-controlled or not.

It does not apply to places open to the public that are under private ownership, such as private car parks or private sports grounds.

University of Canterbury Students' Association president Kohan McNab could not be reached for comment last night.

Any public alcohol ban in Papanui will require the amendment of an existing bylaw.

- The Press

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