Bondi View

Bondi backpackers request for liquor licence receives resident backlash

Out of 16 public comments made on the application at time of publication, just three are in support of the on-premises liquor licence sought by the hostel. Photo: Google Maps.

By EVA BAXTER

The Village Hostel on Lamrock Ave Bondi Beach has lodged an application with the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority for an on-premises licence.

If the application is granted, the hostel will be authorised to serve liquor to customers at the premises during liquor trading hours.

The hostel is proposing to serve its maximum number of patrons (120) alcohol from 10:00AM until 12:00AM.

Residents of Lamrock Ave have objected to the application.

Jonathan McLean wrote in a public submission, “as a nearby resident I strongly oppose granting a liquor licence to Village Backpackers, which is situated in the heart of a residential area with families and young children.

“This would have an adverse impact on the community, and the distribution and consumption of liquor on-premises would further encourage guest anti-social behaviour.

“Guests of Village Backpackers already congregate on the Lamrock Ave and Consett Ave street front areas and cause disturbance late at night and harass passersby.

“Distributing alcohol on-premises would undoubtedly lead to larger congregations, more disturbance and be a huge disservice to the local community.”

Local impact

In June last year, the Waverley Council Strategic Planning and Development Committee unanimously decided to publicly exhibit draft Social Impact Assessment guidelines.

Resident H Keenan addressed the meeting to speak on behalf of the guidelines, “to date Waverley works on a development criteria based almost solely on permissibility.”

He said senior council staff stated there was no criteria for assessing social amenity.

“It’s time we entered the 21st century and it is surprising that Waverley, so densely populated, has no social policy,” he said.

Social impacts typically include changes to one or more social impact types which are accessibility, accommodation, community, culture, health and wellbeing, livelihoods, safety and security, surroundings, way of life.

Mayor Paula Masselos said in the June meeting, “these guidelines highlight the importance of considering social impact of DA’s on the social amenity of neighbouring properties and the locality, and this may include consideration of the cumulative effect of similar developments.

“Premises such as short stay backpacker accommodation or large commercial retail chains coming into smaller neighbourhood centres to the detriment of local shops are prime candidates for the consideration of a social impact assessment,” she said.

Out of the 16 public comments made on the application, three are in support of the licence.

Jonathan Charles said, “I fully support this on-premises liquor licence for the backpackers on Lamrock. We all should. […]

“I would expect given the strict requirements of a liquor licence [that] we will find that the drinking is contained within the establishment rather than out on the street. A liquor licence will ensure better self-regulation of patrons.

“Maybe more opposition should be directed towards the developers who are indeed ripping the heart and soul out of community, not the local digs of the backpackers that add to part of the charm and character of what Bondi has always been about,” he said.

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