The West Australian reports today that Fremantle’s Bathers Beach House is the first hospitality outlet in WA that has received a liquor license to serve alcohol on the beach. This will no doubt attract criticism from those who believe beaches should remain public spaces and not be leased to commercial operators, but I believe it is a good step forward for our nanny state to catch up with European standards on this issue.
What I don’t like is the awful metal steps that have been added to the timber deck that is part of the heritage interpretation of the area and it is disappointing the City of Fremantle did not insist on timber steps in character with the boardwalk.
That brings me to the issue of locals complaining that people who use the Mortuary area for weddings and functions close off the boardwalk to the public. That should not be allowed.
Is this really the right location for a new bar in Fremantle? The awkward roundabout-like intersection of Phillimore, Cliff and Fleet streets is very difficult for pedestrians, especially the thousands of overseas visitors, to negotiate and I weekly witness cars driving against one way arrows in the wrong direction.
I use the intersection daily as a motorist and as a pedestrian so I am talking long-time experience and observation here!
The PTA considers the application for a small, 75 patrons, bar inappropriate for the old weighbridge station as it is only 30 metres away from the container freight line to Fremantle Port.
The plan for a bar was conditionally approved last year with a 15-year lease for the 1897 weighbridge location.
The intersection is also earmarked for a drastic upgrade as part of the Victoria Quay development plans, so would these plans be in jeopardy if a 15-year lease is granted by the City of Fremantle?
The Western Australian liquor licensing laws are very strange and need to be looked at because what is going on at present is not fair.
In Fremantle the Fly by Night musicians club needs financial help from the City because it has taken over a year for a liquor license for Victoria Hall to be approved and that severely affected their bar profits, but at the same time pop up bars and events can get a license whenever they like. Sunset Events at J Shed has a special events license which allows them to sell alcohol whenever they put an event on, and also at Bathers Beach the Kelp bar at Kidogo Arthouse gets an occasional license often. They are open again on Easter for three days and were open three weeks ago for the Seafood Festival.
While on Good Friday bottleshops have to close and restaurants can only serve alcohol if patrons consume a substantial meal, Little Creatures was allowed to sell takeaway beer according to messages on social media because they have a special license. How can that be right and fair?
It appears that the liquor act has a preference for pop-up venues while being excruciatingly slow in granted licenses for permanent venues. Pop ups don’t invest much in the properties and get away with unsightly and stinking portaloos, while permanent venues need to spend a lot of money on having disabled toilets, male and female ones etc.
I am not criticising those operators who get special licenses but believe the system is not fair and needs an overhaul.
Consistent governance is not a strength of Fremantle Council. If they want something they’ll find arguments to support it and if they don’t like something they’ll find arguments to oppose it.
This is the same mob who on the same night signed off on an alcohol policy that supports small bars and responsible drinking, and signed off on a 850 patron tavern and outdoor music venue for 1.500 people at historic Arthur Head on that same night. DUUUH?
This evening we heard all the arguments why Council should support the Corona beer and music festival at South Beach. It’s an international event sponsored by the Corona brewery, but according to Councillors it is not about promoting drinking of alcohol but about offering a lot of food and putting Fremantle on the map. Maybe that Councillor did not mean map but coaster. It is hard to find the right words when one tries to argue that mass drunkenness is part of Council’s responsible alcohol policy.
Oh yes, another Councillor piped, we could use this to promote the responsible use of alcohol, whilst another said that you don’t change culture through prohibition. No one was talking banning alcohol from Fremantle of course, but no big deal missing the point that we are talking about inviting a few thousand people to a beer promotion event on one of our public beaches.
It is an advertising event for Corona and Fremantle, one Councillor enthused. Yep, tell that to the Police and locals who will have to put up with drunken idiots on the night.
Councillor Dave Hume should get out more, as he claimed the Beer Festival on the Esplanade had shown there is no excessive drunkenness at these kinds of events. Not so according to several of my friends who left the event in disgust at 4 pm because of all the drunks falling over themselves. None of those friends of mine are wowsers, but people like me who like to have a good glass of wine or beer in a nice environment and socialise.
At the end teetotaller Bill Massie and Jon Strachan, who likes a drink now and then, voted against the proposal. Strachan’s South Fremantle seat is up for grabs at the October election, so one could be cynical and believe it was simply a tactical vote to appease those whose votes he will be needing, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
The City of Fremantle alcohol policy is a joke and has come to the attention of the McCusker Foundation, which received many complaints when they shortlisted Fremantle for their responsible alcohol award.
ROEL FOR FREO! Truly independent
If my memory serves me right Fremantle once had an “Accord” between the hospitality industry, the City and the Police that was about the responsible service of alcohol. I thought that also included not having “Happy Hour” but by the look of it that no longer applies.
The Police Commissioner warned in the West Australian this week that “the alcohol industry has contributed to WA’s biggest substance abuse problem” that affects thousands of children and families and that has resulted in a huge increase in domestic violence, and that should be a serious concern for us all.
Whilst there is a move away from big booze barns to small bars, there also seems to be an increase in happy hours and cheap meal incentives to come to pubs more often and drink more. I noticed $ 6 pints at one CBD pub between 5-6 pm while one hotel on the main stretch has even introduced a lunch time happy hour. It does not say a lot about responsible service of alcohol when pub operators are trying to entice people to drink more at lunchtime, while at the same time they push for longer night hours.
Drink more, drink cheaper, drink longer and we’ll sell you a fifteen dollar steak is not great support for those in the community who want to reduce the intake of alcohol because it is a huge problem in society. How many more coward punches do we need to hear about? How many more young people have to die or become disabled because of alcohol related violence and drink-driving accidents before the hospitality industry wakes up and accept they have a corporate responsibility?
So what happened to the Fremantle Accord I wonder? When did it lapse, or did no one bother to keep it going? Can it be reinstated?