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Editions

Licensing issues prevent venues from opening

30 Apr 2010

Licensing issues prevent venues from opening Image

By Alison Kinkade

Development plans on both North and South Wharfs have stalled because venue owners are struggling to get liquor licences.

South Wharf restaurants were expecting to open in March, but have been indefinitely delayed.  

Developer Austexx will not comment because the applications are still before the Liquor Licensing Commission.  But sources say not to expect activation of the precinct before December.

And on the other side of the river, hospitality businesses are facing a similar battle against multiple objections from residents, council and police.

South Wharf business owners have been quietly awaiting the outcome of 10 applications.  But a spokesperson for the Director of Liquor Licensing, Sue Maclellan, said six of the 10 had not provided all the relevant documentation and the other four had all received objections.

“The Director received objections concerning the remaining four applications and three of these cases have been heard by an independent liquor licensing panel,” the spokesperson said.  

Objector Howard Barnes suggested an 11pm closing time would be more reasonable than the 1am applied for.

“The main noise levels are often caused by patrons shouting, singing or screaming at each other as they wend their weary way home,” Mr Barnes said.

Resident Harry Heyblok said he didn’t mind having the venues around his home, as long as they strictly adhered to their licence conditions.

“My wife and I get a real buzz about the vibrancy around Southbank / Southgate. A smaller version of that type of activity in our precinct does not concern us at all. The problems arise though when licensees do not adhere strictly to their licence conditions.”

“Prior to the refurbishment of the southern sheds, there was an on going battle between the then venue operators and our residents because of noise,” Mr Heyblok said.

Watermark Bar owner John Ahern has submitted applications for three new venues to be opened along North Wharf.   

Ms Maclellan on March 24 rejected one of Mr Ahearn’s applications for Wharf Cellar Pty Ltd on the grounds of amenity.

The Victoria Harbour bar owner said developers and operators were working very closely together to create a new precinct which would be vibrant for all.

“We want to work with residents and the building managers and run a resident information forum monthly on an ongoing basis, so that information can be communicated to eliminate any concerns that arise,” Mr Ahern said.

The spokesperson for Ms Maclellan said that Mr Ahern’s two other venues, North Wharf Events Pty Ltd and North Wharf Hotel Pty Ltd, had not provided all the relevant documents to complete the application.

Mr Ahern said he was looking forward to working with his landlord, the Liquor Licensing Commission and residents.

Objections have also been received on all three North Wharf applications put forward by Beverly Bloom Pty Ltd.

“The Director of Liquor Licensing has received objections concerning these applications and will refer eligible objections to an independent liquor licensing panel,” the spokesperson said.

The applicant and objectors will be offered the opportunity to present their case to public hearing before the panel makes its recommendation to the Director.

“To date, the licensee has not yet completed the application process for these applications and needs to provide all the relevant documents for it to be referred to a liquor licensing panel,” the spokesperson said.

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