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10-11 Opinion 12 Wellingtonian interview
Liquor licence divides city council
By AMY JACKMAN
Wellington city councillors were
shocked to learn the ASB Sports
Centre cafe had been granted a
When The Wellingtonian
approached Wellington city coun-
cillors to ask about the liquor
licence, only the mayor knew
Eastern ward councillor Simon
Marsh said he was amazed to
hear about it.
It is akin to giving a liquor
licence to a secondary school,'' he
said. It ignores the primary pur-
pose of the stadium as a com-
munity hub for children and
young adult sport.
Council has just agreed to
make council sports grounds
How shortsighted to now intro-
duce alcohol to a council sports
Mr Marsh said he had no prob-
lem with the cafe applying for a
licence on a case-by-case basis.
However, mayor Celia Wade-
Brown said she did not have any
concerns about the centre being
licensed. As long as it is well
managed and not near the courts
when people are playing, that
She said having alcohol at the
sports centre did not conflict with
any messages of healthy eating for
sport players and children.
Many cafes in Wellington serve
both fluffies and lemonade for
children as well as beer or wine or
coffee for adults,'' she said.
A glass of beer or wine with a
meal is not generally seen as
Eastern ward councillor Leonie
Gill said it was disgraceful the
council did not know about the
licence, because it was the owner
of the building.
The first I heard about this
was when you [The Wellingtonian]
There are a multitude of bars
and cafes selling liquor within
walking distance of the centre for
those who want to drink after a
By AMY JACKMAN
Controversy: Is the ASB Sports Centre about to become Wellington's biggest pub?
Eastern suburbs residents are
angry they could not prevent the
cafe at the ASB Sports Centre
being granted a liquor licence.
Compass Group applied for a
restaurant liquor licence when the
cafe opened last year.
It was refused because of
residents' objections. The cafe
took its case to the Liquor Licens-
ing Authority and was awarded
the licence on May 7.
Kilbirnie resident Rosemary
Russell presented the concerns of
the residents at the Liquor
Licensing Authority hearing last
She submitted a petition of 65
signatures of people opposing the
It was not appropriate for a cen-
tre used by a large number of chil-
dren to be selling alcohol, she
The majority of users are
underage and are just dropped off
by their parents at the door,'' she
The cafe was granted resource
consent for the construction and
maintenance of a cafe only, not for
has a children's play area.''
Mrs Russell said residents were
told at a public meeting last year
the cafe would operate in the
same manner as the one at
Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre, which is
The liquor licence grants the
cafe the right to serve alcohol from
7am till midnight from Monday to
Thursday and 7am till 1am on
Friday and Saturday.
The licence is valid for the
whole premises, including the
courts, function rooms and cafe.
ASB Sports Centre is primarily
used by people under 18. It holds
school, junior, preschool and
programmes. The cafe is also
advertised as a place for children's
Cafe senior site manager Sofi
Pua said the cafe operators
applied for the licence because of
the demand for functions.
The cafe had previously applied
for, and been granted, special
licences for functions.
She said the difficulty with a
special licence was it had to be
applied for five weeks in advance,
a fee had to be paid each time and
there was a limit on how many
could be applied for in a 12-month
We have had to turn down
functions because we couldn't get
a licence in time or it was not cost-
effective for us to be serving them
alcohol,'' she said.
We are currently holding about
four or five functions a week and
maybe one of them requires one or
two glasses of wine.''
A condition of the cafe's licence
is that the customer must buy
food with any alcohol purchased.
We are complying with all of
the terms of our licence. They
have to buy food, a bowl of chips or
a sandwich or something.
Otherwise, we don't serve
We also have all the signs up,
all our staff have managers'
licences and we ask for ID from
We don't want to slip up or be
stupid because then we will lose
Although the licence extends to
the courts, Ms Pua said no-one
was allowed to take food or drink
from the cafe to the courts.
It is a very strict policy.''
She said in the six weeks the
cafe had had the licence not one
underage person had asked for
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