Booze ban: alcohol ban review underway in Bay

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A review of alcohol bans in the Bay is underway, following a request for a ban in Te Puke shopping centre.

The public has been asked to share their views on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related crime and disorder.

In late 2015 Te Puke police and Te Puke community board requested an alcohol ban in the town's shopping centre, prompting Western Bay of Plenty District Council to review its liquor control bylaw.

Council group manager policy planning and regulatory services Rachael Davie said the request was spurred by locals' concerns about disorderly and anti-social behavior related to alcohol consumption.

"Our current bylaw only enables council to impose alcohol bans in Waihi Beach and Katikati, so a review is needed to consider a ban in Te Puke.

"Because we are required to fully review our bylaw by December 2018, we decided to combine the two processes," she said.

Read more: New bottle store in Tauranga gets go-ahead

While the review considered any new alcohol bans, it also looked at whether the existing bans in Katikati and Waihi Beach should continue.

An online feedback site has been created for people to share their views about alcohol consumption, alcohol-related crime and express any concerns around community safety.

To access the site click here.

Public demand for an alcohol ban will not be enough to add or retain a ban under new legislation, Ms Davie said.

"Alcohol bans are subject to a new set of legislative requirements and these set a higher threshold that must be met for council to retain an existing alcohol ban, or impose any new alcohol bans.

"It means that bans should only be targeted to problem locations and times, where there is clear evidence of crime and disorder caused or made worse by alcohol consumption," Ms Davie said.

"We need evidence to prove a high level of crime and disorder would occur without a ban - and that's why people's experiences and feedback are so important."

Ms Davie encouraged anyone who has experienced alcohol-related crime in their town to fill in a short survey, either online or at any council library or service centre.

Examples of alcohol-related crime include anything from littering, broken bottles and abusive language and behaviour, to incidents where you feel like your safety has been compromised or even extreme crimes such as sexual violence or murder.

The online consultation is open from today to February 1.

Following stage one, a draft bylaw will be created and released for consultation with the community in March and April 2016.

The final bylaw is expected to be adopted in August 2016.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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