A proposal to bring a new small bar to the Bunbury CBD has been met with strong opposition from local venue owners.
Local restaurateur Jenny Spencer, owner of popular waterfront restaurant Vat 2, has applied for a liquor licence to bring what she has described as a classy and intimate venue to the city centre.
But six prominent CBD hotel and restaurant owners have put their names on an objection to the small bar, stating that it would not be in the public interest to allow the licence.
The objection says that the proposed bar at 26 Victoria Street lies within a “notorious triangle” which has the second-highest level of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour in WA.
It also claims that the services to be offered by the venue, to be called Yours or Mine, are already fully catered for in the area.
The application described Yours or Mine as an intimate venue with regional wines and local craft beer as well as a unique cocktail menu, a rustic, industrial style interior and solo acoustic local entertainment.
The proposal comes as a wave of interest in bringing small bars to Bunbury sweeps the city, following in the footsteps of Perth.
The small bar licence was introduced in 2007 and it does not require guest accommodation to be provided, the sale of packaged liquor is prohibited and the number of persons who may be on the licensed premises is limited to a maximum of 120.
Cafe 140’s owners are looking to expand into the evening hours, young entrepreneur Jordan Gianfrancesco plans to open an intimate venue called Mr Fox and Casella’s owner Jason Casella has spent years working towards opening Sala – all small bars to be located on Victoria Street.
An online petition to gauge community support for Yours or Mine has collected more than 1500 signatures and will be presented to the department of racing, gaming and liquor to help determine if it is in the public interest.
Bunbury Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Pete Jenal said the level of anti-social behaviour in the CBD had been on the downturn in recent years.
“The City of Bunbury has invested a lot of money into CCTV and police are getting on top of it,” Senior Sergeant Jenal said.
“But in saying that, people need to be responsible for their own drinking, we shouldn’t be expected to hold their hand.
“A liquor licence or venue’s contribution to antisocial behaviour depends on a lot of conditions, for example hours of trade, if they are serving a meal, the type of alcohol they will offer and more.”
Last month WA Labor leader Mark McGowan called for “common sense” changes to the state’s Liquor Act to make it easier for bars, restaurants and tourist hotspots to get licenses.
“I know alcohol abuse in our community is a big problem, but kneejerk licence rejections are not the answer,” Mr McGowan said.
“In fact, it’s arguable that allowing more intimate, small scale and sophisticated licenced venues could be part of the solution.”
Source – Shanelle Miller – Bunbury Mail