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Liquor licence challenge for rodeos

The fenced alcohol consumption area at the Carrieton Rodeo.IT ONLY takes one or two troublemakers in a licenced area to make obtaining a liquor licence difficult.

Wilmington Rodeo on Saturday night had to re-structure its alcohol consumption areas to help gain a liquor license.

Like the Carrieton Rodeo at the end of last month, alcohol consumption areas at Wilmington Rodeo had to be secure with fencing and security guards, so minors could be excluded.

President Kerry Modystach said the committee had no choice and faced running a “dry” rodeo if it didn’t provide the fencing.

“They are trying to stamp out under-age drinking and I think we did that,” Mr Modystach said.

The Wilmington Rodeo submitted its liquor licence application several weeks prior to the rodeo but, when they heard Carrieton had difficulties obtaining a liquor license, they decided to act.

Mr Modystach said they hadn’t heard from the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner about their application and decided to act upon it, hiring a lawyer to come to an agreement so they could have their licence.

“We will have more time next year. We will try to see whether they will let us get a permit to let under-ages (under 18 years of age) in with their families,” Mr Modystach said.

“If we didn’t have alcohol we wouldn’t …it’s the families we want.”

With double the number of security guards (16) and an excellent police presence, Mr Modystach believed they did a good job in the time they had.

Wilmington Rodeo has two bars, a small one on the northern side and the main one on the southern side, Mr Modystach would like to see families with their children able to enter the northern drinking area, in a security-controlled environment.

“As soon as the rodeo is finished we shut the small bar, I don’t see it as a problem,” Mr Modystach said.

“The other thing that worries me is are they (OLGC) just attacking rodeos and why are they attacking?”

Mr Modystach said the positive aspects of the caged areas were that no alcohol was taken outside, and it was safe for all including the horses and spectators.

Families could also take their children to get food or hop on a ride without feeling intimidated by intoxicated people with glass bottles and cans.

“There was no drinking outside, that’s been stopped and I think that’s a good thing. People can walk around and know they are safe,” Mr Modystach said.

His wife Jill said she thought the areas worked well, and if this was how it was going to be in future, people were going to have to get used to them.

“But it is nice to be able to grab a drink, sit on the mound and watch with your family,” she said.

A spokesperson for the OLGC said short-term events where liquor is sold require a Limited Licence under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997.

“The Act regulates the sale, supply and consumption of liquor. Importantly one major objective of the Act is to ensure that minors aren’t exposed to liquor and the penalties reflect this,” the spokesperson said.

The licence authorises the sale and consumption of liquor on a temporary basis and is subject to the provisions of the Act and any conditions attached to the licence.

“Conditions can be imposed such as restricting minors on the licensed areas, the number of security to be present, and first aid officers being provided during the hours of operation of the licence,” the spokesperson said.

“At one event in particular, concerns were raised by police as unaccompanied minors were present after midnight.

“As the applicant couldn’t ensure that unaccompanied minors wouldn’t be present after midnight, the licence was granted with agreement between the licensee through its legal representative and police, with a smaller area,” the spokesperson said.

“Recently Limited Licences were granted to rodeo clubs that had legal representation for smaller areas. The decision on the smaller areas was arrived at agreement through legal representation with police and not by arbitration. The rodeo clubs agreed to the smaller areas,” the OLGC spokesperson said.

With several applications received every month for liquor licences each is assessed on it’s own merit, taking in consideration the views of local council and police.

There has been no change in the Liquor Licensing Act.

“Smaller areas allow the opportunity for rodeo clubs to better manage the area and to ensure compliance with their licence conditions and the requirements of the Act,” the OLGC spokesperson said.

“All applications are assessed on their own merits and take into account a range of issues including where there have been any previous issues on the event, the number of persons estimated to be present, the size of the area.”

Brevet Sergent Louise Manhire, of Booleroo Centre Police, said the fenced off areas at Wilmington Rodeo assisted in detecting minors.

“It decreased the (number of) fights and made it a lot easier from our point of view,” she said.

“From what people told me it’s really only been positives.”

Bvt Sgt Manhire said the carpark area was the issue which was addressed with an increased police presence including two mounted police officers.

The caged areas also kept glass away from horses, competitors and families, making the areas outside safer.

“We are working with council to make it a dry zone…we had an issue with people throwing bottles at the mounted police,” she said.

Bvt Sgt Manhire said some of the challengess with Wilmington and Carrieton rodeos was their proximity to Christmas and New Year, making it difficult to find police officers available to work.

Bvt Sgt Manhire said it’s a possibility these areas could stay like they are and it’s not just the minors who misbehave it’s also some adults.

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