LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTS
Kawerau Council recently spent more than half a million dollars improving the barbecue area at the Maurie Kjar swimming pool complex, the mayor said.
Barbecues at Kawerau pools should be alcohol-free for private events to avoid ‘unduly risky’ situations, according to a legal opinion.
At a Kawerau District Council meeting this week, Mayor Malcolm Campbell said that after spending more than half a million dollars to upgrade the pool barbecue area, he would be “very disappointed if we weren’t letting common sense prevail here.”
“If we’re going to say, well, you can go down and have a barbecue but you can’t have a beer, we’re going to look a little stupid as advisers,” he said.
As part of the ongoing review of its liquor control by-law, the council has sought legal advice on its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to the rental of the Complex aquatic Maurie Kjar recently renovated for private events, especially if it must allow the consumption of alcohol.
* District draws liquor battle lines – don’t buy now, pay later
* Previously ‘watered down’ calls for alcohol rules in Matamata-Piako – alcohol watchdog
* Fairer alcohol policies for Featherston locations
Holland Beckett Law’s view was that the council had a duty under the law to take all necessary steps to ensure that those hiring the resort could and would use it safely.
The law firm‘s recommendation was not to allow alcohol consumption in the resort as the combination of water and alcohol posed a high risk.
“The presence of alcohol at events at the resort is likely to be unduly risky,” the advisory states.
He went on to say that if alcohol was to be allowed, strict minimum standards should be enforced, such as limiting the level of alcohol to be served and prohibiting people who had consumed alcohol from entering the water. .
It was also considered that the council should require a lifeguard to be present at events and have a mandatory adult-to-child ratio.
“The council may also choose to impose rules regarding other high-risk activities such as running, diving or shelling.”
The report was received at a council meeting on Tuesday in which Councilor Aaron Rangihika described it as “the PC gone bad” and “lawyers trying to cover up”.
“I actually disagree with half of what’s here,” he said.
Regulatory and planning group head Mikaela Glaspey said no decision had yet been made on what action would be taken following the legal opinion.
“When we look at the regulations, then we have to make a decision. The rules have always covered the swimming pool area. I don’t know why, but we always allowed [alcohol at private events]. We never saw this as a rule when renting the venue, so we allowed alcohol there.
She said the regulations needed to be aligned with what was being practiced and “come up with new policies around our pool or decide that we’re going to stick with what we’re doing now.”
Councilor David Sparks said he felt common sense should prevail.
“The ban, to me, would be utterly wrong and somewhat hypocritical considering the fact that we had staff duties there.”
Deputy Mayor Faylene Tunui said she felt the recommendations were extremely restrictive and that she thought the idea of the council being able to provide lifeguards for after-hours events was ‘very unrealistic’. given the difficulty in finding lifeguards to fill the pool’s regular opening hours. She also asked how many drownings they had had as a result of private bookings where alcohol was served.
Campbell said the council had to be very careful about how it handled this because, at this stage, the responsibility was on the tenant.
“If anything were to happen, it would come back to this table.”
The council has received just four submissions for proposed updates to its liquor control bylaw, three in favor of it and one concerned that it will prevent companies from indulging in private drinks after hours on their own premises.
Glaspey said that as long as a business was open to the public the bylaw would apply, but once closed to the public, after hours, it was private, so people were free to drink there.
The board reviewed its liquor control bylaws and released a draft for public comment in mid-July. Submissions closed in August. The regulation, created in 2004 at the request of New Zealand Police to help prevent crime in the city and last updated in 2009, prohibits drinking in the city centre, including the swimming pool, although that it gives the council the power to grant exemptions or special measures. licenses for public events.
There have been no bylaw changes that would have a material impact on alcohol consumption in the city.
The updated regulations are expected to be adopted at a meeting of the Regulation and Services Committee on September 13.