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Hearings Panel recommends university bylaw exemption

Hearings Panel recommends university bylaw exemption

A Christchurch City Council Hearings Panel has recommended a proposed alcohol ban surrounding the University of Canterbury exempt the campus.

The panel, comprising Chairman David East and members Helene Mautner and Faimeh Burke, convened today. It heard from submitters to the proposed Alcohol Restrictions in Public Places Amendment Bylaw 2014.

The bylaw proposes to make permanent temporary bans that have been in place in Sumner on New Year’s Eve, Addington on New Zealand Trotting Cup Day, and introduce a permanent ban in an area of Upper Riccarton/Ilam.

“While the panel was happy to endorse the proposals for Addington and Sumner, an issue was identified that impacted on the university,” says panel Chairman David East.

“Changes in Government legislation have altered the definition of a public place. While the changes to the Local Government Act that came into force in December last year were designed to target potential problems in carparks and other private areas accessed by the public, there has been an unintended impact on the university.

“While most submitters support the use of a bylaw to minimise the harm from alcohol in these areas, we also need to find a balance that doesn’t impose upon the university unnecessarily by forcing it to apply for licences to hold events or fence off areas to restrict public access.

“The university has submitted that it wants to retain public access to and enjoyment of its campus. It pointed out strong measures it has in place to monitor and address any issues. This includes a drug and alcohol policy, as well as security staff who liaise closely with police.”

The Hearings Panel recommended the Council approve the amendment to make permanent the Upper Riccarton/Ilam temporary alcohol ban area but exclude the university campus from the area covered. The panel noted that, as agreed by the university, University Drive is to be included within the bylaw.

The panel also asked that Council staff have further discussions with the University Pro-Chancellor about whether Homestead Lane should also be included within the bylaw area.

The recommendations will need to be considered by the full Council before the bylaw is adopted.

Today’s agenda and submissions can be found on the Council website, www.ccc.govt.nz

- ends -

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