Al­co­hol ban im­pact

Bright Days and Rod Run or­gan­is­ers worry for fu­ture of events if laws change

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - BY JUSTIN JEN­VEY jjen­[email protected]­me­

OR­GAN­IS­ERS of two of Bright’s ma­jor draw­cards have voiced con­cerns about the pos­si­ble im­pact pro­posed changes to lo­cal laws will have on their events and oth­ers.

In September, Alpine Shire Coun­cil com­menced a Lo­cal Law re­view in an ef­fort to con­sol­i­date and sim­plify lo­cal law.

In draft­ing Com­mu­nity Lo­cal Law 2019 al­most 60 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 12 dif­fer­ent groups across the shire were con­sulted along with Vic­to­ria Po­lice and other ma­jor bod­ies.

Among the key pro­pos­als are changes to the con­sump­tion of al­co­hol in pub­lic places that if passed, will pro­hibit al­co­hol at all times in ar­eas where it was pre­vi­ously al­lowed be­tween 7pm and 10pm.

There is, how­ever, cri­te­ria for par­tic­u­lar events to be ex­empt from the re­stric­tions if they meet cer­tain con­di­tions.

Brighter Days Fes­ti­val and Bright’s Iconic Rod Run at­tract thou­sands of peo­ple each year, many of who are able to en­joy a drink on the street or by the river over the course of the week­ends.

Brighter Days vice pres­i­dent Ja­son Reid said cur­rent laws set Bright apart from other towns.

“Our town’s unique and we’re able to do what we do be­cause we have these by­laws,” he said.

“My the­ory is if ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

In the six year his­tory of Brighter Days there has been no in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence or anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

In fact the fes­ti­val has quickly grown to be­come one of the most pop­u­lar fam­ily events in the state due to its work rais­ing money for a num­ber of chil­dren’s char­i­ties.

How­ever, the 2014 edi­tion of Bright’s Iconic Rod Run was marred by sev­eral brawls which lead to an al­co­hol cur­few be­tween 8.30pm and mid­day.

Since the cur­few was in­tro­duced there has been no ma­jor in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence or anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

Rod Run sec­re­tary Tracy Pawlick said if in­tro­duced, the new laws could change the en­tire dy­namic of both the long run­ning car event and mu­sic and char­ity fes­ti­val.

“For years we’ve tried to get all these events into town, and par­tic­u­larly the Rod Run and Brighter Days which gen­er­ate so much, I just can­not see the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in sweep­ing by­law changes and the po­ten­tial to lose the num­bers that are com­ing here for these events,” she said.

Both par­ties are also con- cerned that there will be added costs to run­ning their events.

“We’re con­cerned about who’s re­spon­si­ble down the track for mon­i­tor­ing and the cost of mon­i­tor­ing the is­sue,” Mr Reid said.

“If they give us a per­mit but put con­straints around the per­mit and the ex­pense is too great that would se­verely limit the op­por­tu­nity to run the fes­ti­vals.”

Ms Pawlick said the changes would also dic­tate how locals and vis­i­tors are able to so­cialise out­doors.

“You ac­tu­ally won’t be able to go down the park for a glass of wine or a beer with­out a per­mit,” she said.

“We think its overkill and it’s just go­ing to cre­ate a night­mare for those try­ing to en­force it.”

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