Controling the party on Wanaka’s streets
Wanaka is ‘‘no different than anywhere else in New Zealand, and every week we are dealing with kids who are making mistakes,’’ policeman Constable Phil Vink says.
However, Wanaka’s ‘‘partytown culture’’ made young people more susceptible, Vink, also a Wanaka Alcohol Group member, said.
‘‘Walk down the street and every second table has got alcohol on it.’’
While alcohol was a hot topic, about 30 Wanaka professionals and community members met to discuss how legal highs could be controlled, in the lakes district’s second forum, last Wednesday.
While councils could not ban approved drink and drugs in the community, local government could impose controls on where the outlets were located, Queenstown Lakes District Council regulatory manager Lee Webster said. These could be incorporated into a Local Approved Product Policy or LAPP, within council bylaws.
On the alcohol issue, ensuing discussion reached a consensus that Wanaka had enough liquor licenses and did not need any more in the next 10 years, but that it had too many off-license premises.
Youth representative, year12 student Aoife Baker, from REAP’s cyber-bullying project Sticks and Stones, supreme winners of the recent Trustpower Central Otago Community Awards, felt there were extremes: While some kids thought it was fine to go out and get drunk, others did not drink at all, but generally young people were starting to regulate themselves.
‘‘As they’re getting older, they’ve started to get more aware of the impacts,’’ Baker said.
‘‘Going out and getting drunk – it is frowned upon.’’
As for the future availability of legal highs, opinions were divided about whether or not shops should be confined to highly visible areas within range of closed circuit cameras and the police station, or commercial areas, where there were pros and cons of being less visible.
There was also discussion about proximity to schools, reserves, betting shops and licensed premises and what construed ‘‘sensitive sites’’.
Indi Picard started at Wanaka Primary School on June 9.