Recommendations on steps needed to develop a Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) in the Waitaki district will be considered by the Waitaki District Council’s customer services committee at its meeting on Wednesday.
The committee is keen to declare its intention to council that it wishes to start background research so as to be in a “strong position” when it comes time to develop the draft LAP.
The recommendations to council include that it approves a proposal to identify research required to support the LAP and to address gaps in local information and authorise the District Licensing Committee (DLC) to appoint a member or members to complete an initial investigation.
It has also recommended council note that the secretary of the DLC will advise council when sufficient information is available from appeal hearings to commence a draft LAP and that an LAP can’t include policies on matters not related to licensing.
At a DLC meeting last August, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher resolved a proposal be prepared for council for the development of an LAP, however council does not consider it a high priority.
A draft LAP must go through a public consultation process, and submissions invited.
Once adopted, any industry, business or individual can appeal the LAP through the Alcohol and Regulatory Licensing Authority.
The committee will consider three options at the meeting, with the first being to commence LAP development, however only one LAP in New Zealand has been adopted unopposed, in Ruapehu.
The second and recommended option is to commence initial research to support an LAP.
Research is related to alcohol harm in the community and would include discussions with agencies and community groups, aided by information obtained through existing LAP research reports.
The second option would also raise awareness among agencies and community groups, and speed up the information-gathering process.
The third option is to not develop an LAP, however council has already signalled its intention to develop one.
Initial research work is expected to take 72 hours, at a cost of no more than $5000.
By Daniel Birchfield