Booze-fuelled crime and disorder at Waitawheta’s popular Dickey Flat campsite has prompted the Council to propose a permanent ban on alcohol in the area.
Mayor John Tregidga says last year NZ Police attended 10 incidents at the campground, three of which were very serious in nature.
The Council is also aware of several incidents not reported to NZ Police that have caused a nuisance to campers.
“There is definitely an issue with the behaviour of some Dickey Flat campers, which of course is made worse when alcohol’s involved, so we totally support the Police and Department of Conservation who want to see this become an alcohol free area,”says John.
The proposal is part of a wider review of Council’s Alcohol Control Bylaw, which outlines the rules around alcohol use in public places.
Other proposed changes include extending the current seasonal alcohol ban in public places in Whiritoa to a year-round ban.
The NZ Police have requested this due to alcohol related issues outside traditional Christmas/New Year periods.
“The purpose of these changes is to make sure the Police have the tools they need to address disruptive behaviour in public places, and allow everyone else to enjoy themselves without being harassed."
Pokies also in the spotlight
The District’s gambling rules are also under the microscope and open for feedback this month.
Under the Council’s current gambling policy, which outlines the rules around the number and location of pokies machines allowed in the District, businesses with pokies machines are not allowed to relocate.
An additional policy is proposed that would allow these businesses to move premises in some circumstances.
“Basically, it would mean that if an existing premises is sold, or no longer available the business could potentially be relocated," says John.
"The current policy has no provision for this, which we believe is unfair in some cases.”
This addition doesn’t change the Council’s ‘sinking lid’ approach to pokies, which states that when existing gaming venues and machines cease to operate they can’t be replaced.
“Our gambling policy acknowledges that while gambling can be an enjoyable activity it can also be addictive and that this has a significant negative social impact on some of our families>"
He encourages anyone interested in any of these proposed changes to share their views over the next few weeks.
Find out more about both these proposals, and how you can join the conversation, on our website or call into any of our offices in Paeroa, Waihi and Ngatea.