Sunday, May 19, 2024

Booze ban imposed at disorder hot spot

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The Howick Local Board has implemented an alcohol ban in this Highbrook car park. Times photo Wayne Martin

An alcohol ban is now in place at a troubled east Auckland location where a man was fatally stabbed last month.

The Howick Local Board was asked at its monthly business meeting this month to implement the ban at the Highbrook boat ramp and car park in Lady Fisher Place, and on publicly accessible adjacent grass and coastal areas.

According to a report provided to the board, Auckland Council received two requests in September for an alcohol ban at the location in Highbrook Business Park.

The area was the site of a physical altercation last month that left one man dead and several others injured.

A 24-year-old man was fatally stabbed there in the early hours of November 13.

Following a police investigation, a 17-year-old youth was arrested and charged with murder and is currently before the courts.

Work by council staff found moderate to high levels of alcohol-related disorder at the location.

They identified three potential alcohol ban options and recommended a ban on weekends and holidays only.

“This approach recognises there is evidence of a moderate to high level of disorder, caused or made worse by alcohol consumption in the area during the weekend period.

“There was no specific evidence of alcohol-related disorder on other days of the week.”

There were 17 incidents of disorder caused or made worse by alcohol in the area over a period of 10 months.

Examples include four involving intimidation, aggression toward the public or assault with a deadly weapon.

One saw 15 people fighting, two gunshots fired, one person suffering a gunshot wound and bottles thrown at a person on the ground.

In another, a group of eight to 10 people were drinking in the car park, disturbing bystanders by arguing and throwing glass bottles on the ground and in front of businesses.

Another occasion involved 30 youths and 10 vehicles in the car park, drinking and throwing bottles, blocking an entrance to private property, dancing in the road and playing loud music.

An alcohol ban request form submitted by one local business states its gate has been blocked by people who were drinking.

“We have had our people shouted at and recently one staff member has had bottles thrown at him while he has been outside his car.”

Several people spoke to the board in support of the alcohol ban including workers from businesses near the trouble hot spot and senior sergeant Anson Lin and Botany community constable Nicci Gibson, of Counties Manukau East Police.

They urged the board to implement a 24/7 alcohol ban and the officers also asked for the ban to cover an extended area along the waterfront.

Board member Bruce Kendall expressed disappointment toward two council staff in the meeting that the issue hadn’t been drawn to the board’s attention earlier.

“I’m a little bit surprised this request has come to us so late considering the evidence we’ve seen today.

“This has been going on for a long time and it is pretty high levels of bad behaviour and violence.

“We could have potentially knocked this on the head before somebody got killed.”

The board unanimously voted to implement a 24/7 alcohol ban in the extended area as requested and to allocate $2000 toward signs publicising the ban.

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