Dannevirke: Tavern ready for business

By Christine McKay

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Tararua District licensing committee granted a licence to the Black Dog.
Tararua District licensing committee granted a licence to the Black Dog.

After police dropped their objection to an on-licence application by Helen Upson for Black Dog in Makotuku, leaving just one objector, Tararua District licensing committee has granted a licence for the country tavern.

"I just want to make this tavern a super place," Ms Upson said.

"I want the Black Dog to draw tourists to the town."

Ms Upson purchased the former Makotuku Hotel on Matamau-Ormondville Rd in 2014 and after an initial licensing hearing in December last year, the committee, David Lea, chairman and Maureen Reynolds and Kerry Sutherland, met again in February to consider the application.

The medical officer of health initially opposed the application, but later withdrew that application as did the police.

An objection from Lyn Cameron and Andrew de lautour, neighbours of Black Dog, was also withdrawn, leaving just one objector to the application, Brenda Boyce, shareholder in the Ormondville Tavern, which is about 3km away from the new tavern. Boyce objected on the grounds of the unsuitability of Ms Upson, but didn't appear at the hearing.

"Brenda appears to have made an objection on a possible commercial basis and it should be ignored," Ms Upson told the committee. Supporter Kelly Hall said the objection was "bizarre".

"She [Boyce] accuses the applicant of selling liquor, [in her home] but police have investigated and found no evidence."

And although the Black Dog is at the centre of Makotuku, Ms Upson denied it was involved in a police call out regarding a rifle shot, or an armed offenders call to a cross-bow incident.

"We didn't hear about the incidents until a day later," she said.

Ms Upson has the support of the Makotuku Progressive Association, which administers the local hall. Clayton Locke, Tararua District Council's licensing inspector, told the hearing Ms Upson was suitable to operate licensed premises.

But noisy dogs had been an issue and Mr Lea warned this could affect any renewal of the Black Dog's licence.

"It's obvious to me there is some concern by neighbours about the dogs and the noise and this could be a mitigating factor in any renewal of your licence," he said. "Are you aware of the problems real or perceived?"

Ms Upson said she bred german shepherds and was very open with what she does with her dogs.

"I love them to bits. Yes, I have been reported, but these were stupid stories from silly neighbours. [The] reports were totally false and I've never been issued with a notice. My dogs only bark if somebody in the area is making them bark.

"I guarantee the noise from the Black Dog will be next to nothing."

There were also concerns expressed by licensing committee members over Sunday trading hours finishing at 1am the following day.

Ms Upson said she didn't anticipate being open the full number of hours applied for and the late Sunday would occur only when it was followed by a public holiday on the Monday. The hours requested were to avoid having to apply for special licences.

In approving her application, the committee said the Sunday trading hours would be 10am to 11pm, unless preceded by a public holiday, when the hours could extend to 1am.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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