Green beer and pavement pizza.

drunkenleprechaun1.gif

Saint Patrick’s day is here again and celebrations on the border have included the traditional “green” theme, green attire, green beer, green hair, green body paint. Leprechaun costumes and four leaved clovers were the order of the day.

St. Patrick’s day of course has become synonymous with binge drinking so it’s possibly an apt occasion for the Albury council to meet and consider a submission put forward by Albury police to limit outdoor dining after midnight and an opposing argument put forward by Dean Street greasy spoon eatery “Sweetheart’s Pizza”.

Police will put forward their case to restrict the on street trading of Sweetheart’s pizza (currently the only premises in Albury to have a licence to serve food on the street after midnight), but owner of Sweetheart’s,  Daryl Betteridge has hit out at the suggestion.

He  said that it was a smokescreen to cover up for police failings.

“I think it’s an abuse of their powers, I feel I’m being persecuted,” he said.

“Imagine the resources they’ve put into this (submission)”?

“We do not have a police force to create policy, they’re here to enforce the law”.

“They should get out there and do that rather than create situations that make small businesses untenable in the long term”.

“We’re not selling alcohol, we’re running a legal business”.

“I seriously question the police’s motive in this”.

“It seems like a personal vendetta because I was a vocal and outspoken opponent of the 1.30am lockout.”

Insp. John Wadsworth, of Albury police, said the move would eliminate groups of different age and demographics coming into contact and eventually clashing on the street.

“It just causes an unnecessary congestion of people,” Insp. Wadsworth said.

“People mill around, different groups meet up, they’ve got alcohol on board, they’re tired and tempers can fly”.

“We want to make outdoor dining streamlined in Dean Street”.

“We want to make sure people get home safely, we’re not trying to take business away from late night takeaways.”

I think it’s fairly clear that the appeal of Sweethearts’ appeal is limited to members of the population with a blood alcohol level of clinically dead, but it remains to be seen whether Albury council will leave it or heave it.

Perhaps a warning sign like the one below might be a nice compromise. 

UPDATE: Albury councillors Nico Matthews (better known for alcohol consumption, drink driving and non-attendance of council meetings than for any council dealings) and Arthur Fraunfelder have sided against the move to ban outdoor scavanging dining on Dean Street after midnight.

Albury council will discuss the move aimed at preventing fights breaking out around the “chuck” wagon at it’s meeting on Tuesday.

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About alburywodongaonline

Hi I'm Jack Stone (a pseudonym), I'm a long-time Albury resident and I think it's a great place to live and work. I have a strong interest in local events and media and I started this site because I think a different perspective is often needed when reporting local news. I take a keen interest in local politics, as well as what's going on at the state and federal level, I'm also a supporter of social justice issues, the envirionment and the need for people to have a say in the events that effect their lives. I'm a fan of the Border Bandits and I'd love to see both teams take the flag this year, and next year, and maybe the one after that too.
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16 Responses to Green beer and pavement pizza.

  1. Ahh Nico. I remember handing out how to vote cards for Claire Douglas at the 2003 election and the ALP volunteers were all shit scared that Nico might have a chance to get in. Turned out that they didn’t have much to worry about.

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  3. I had the “fortune” of handing out how to vote cards (for different parties) shoulder to shoulder with the illustrious Cr. Matthews in the November 07 federal election.

    Oh I heard some stories then. I won’t print them because they are un-substantiated heresay but they do confirm somewhat that Cr. Matthews reputation is less for politics than for alcohol consumption and associated “behaviours”.

    Puts it squarely in the realm of “public knowledge” I’d say.

    He’s a bit (LOT) like our equivalent of Daryl Pearce.

    It’s a worry that he doesn’t even bother to turn up to meetings though.

  4. raydixon says:

    Love the Pearce comparison, AWOL. Daryl does turn up to meetings though … regardless of his state of inebriation.

    But at the last meeting he really only seemed interested in the “Youth Council Mayor” – a 13 yr old girl.

    (True story, no libel – I was there)

  5. no slur on Alpine Shire Ray but I’m sure if Albury council meetings were “licensed” they’d have to sweep Cr. Matthews out the door after closing time with all the cigarette butts.

  6. raydixon says:

    Sometimes I think Daz just stays behind and sleeps in the council chambers.

  7. much like Barney Gumble from the Simpsons does in Moe’s tavern?

  8. Sorry Ray, I just read that thread back, A 13 YEAR OLD GIRL??!!??
    Could you have just unearthed Alpine Shire’s own Milton Orkopolous?
    I reckon there’s GOTTA be a story there!!

  9. raydixon says:

    Well yeah, but if I wrote the full version as I saw it then it could become a real bun fight and I don’t want the grief. There were other councillors present and they’d probably take his side (they mightn’t have noticed anyway). His reputation precedes him, which makes it so amazing he was ever elected in the first place.

  10. Ashlee says:

    Those comments about my father Daryl are highly defamatory and highly incorrect.

    My father does not drink, and takes his responsibilities as a business owner and member of the community very seriously.

    Sweethearts Pizza attracts a broad range of customers of different ages (and states of inebriation). The overwhelming majority of our customers are very pleasant to deal with and do not engage in antisocial behaviour. They are just socialising and enjoying themselves. It is only a minority that cause problems.

    Sweethearts Pizza does not sell alcohol or allow alcohol on the premises after midnight, and has installed CCTV cameras and security guards to ensure customer and community safety. Our outdoor seating is also specially designed so that it cannot be used in a way which could escalate any violent situations.

    These steps are far and beyond what is expected from any other food venue on Dean Street, open at day or night.

    The simple fact is that pizza does not cause antisocial behaviour. Irresponsible service of alcohol and a lack of appropriate police presence, as well as underlying social issues and problems with taxis, are the main causes of violence on Dean Street.

    My parents’ business is being made council’s scapegoat for the failure of the State Government to address issues in Albury relating to policing, social welfare, late night transport, youth crime, drug use and binge drinking.

    If my dad or any members of my family could fix these issues, we would. He has already tried to do what he can, by lobbying for the taxi rank to be moved to a safer location, calling for increased services, and by establishing the late night shuttle bus service along with licensed premises. But at the end of the day, he sells pizza to put his kids through school and uni. He can’t change the continual neglect Albury faces for being at the periphery of the state border.

    Removing outdoor seating and pushing people who just want to enjoy themselves away from Dean Street will simply hand the strip over to the troublemakers.

    Late night activity on Dean Street has a key role to play in the local economy. The success of night businesses has a flow on effect, and helps boost the area’s reputation as a travel destination. We have sponsored many sporting teams, local charities and community initiatives like the outdoor oven at Noriuel Park. Responsible small business owners who give back to the local community and are passionate like my parents should be supported by council.

    By the way, even though I may not agree with some of the comments made, I really like your blog. I think it’s great that there is another forum out there for people to talk about the issues affecting their local community. It was about time there was some more border representation in the blogosphere.

    Ashlee, thanks for your input, I’m really glad you enjoy the site too. I agree there needs to be more local input, but more importantly a forum for public debate on these issues which isn’t present in other mainstream media outlets. Certainly not local ones in any rate.

    To be blunt I don’t think even the police are suggesting that Sweethearts pizza is CAUSING anti-social behaviour, the loutish behaviour on display on a friday and Saturday night in Dean Street has it’s cause rooted much more deeply than a benign pizzaria that’s for sure.
    I think the problem (as you pointed out) extends further beyond any level of government in this country, it is a cultural problem with certain sections of the community that equates excessive alcohol consumption and violence with “manliness”, even having a good time.
    With all due respect I think it’s fairly obvious that the main stock in trade of late night food retailers along Dean Street (and there are several) is inhebriated persons (or people inhebriated to some degree or other).
    Dean Street has always been a congregating point for drunks on a Friday and Saturday night let’s face it. I firmly believe though that Dean Street now is better in terms of crowd behaviour than it was ten or even fifteen years ago, a lot of the “idiot factor”, illegal street racing, hoon driving, roving gangs of thugs opportunistically bashing people at random, have been eliminated or reduced.

    Anyone who takes a moment to look at our main drag on a Friday or Saturday evening will quickly see that there is room for improvement still.
    Rolling back the lock-out didn’t seem to have much discernable effect on violence on Dean Street, to be blunt I’m sceptical restricting trading hours of a non-licenced venue will have much discernable effect either. Perhaps there is no “solution”, maybe when youth alcohol and sexual tension collide sparks are inevitable to some extent.
    I’m not entirely sure I swallow the “Late night activity on Dean Street has a key role to play in the local economy” line though, from what I can see alcohol and gambling venues cost the community a lot more in terms of social problems than they give back.
    Don’t get me wrong, I realise SOMEONE’S getting rich out of all the money that changes hands in our mock-casinos and plethora of watering holes, I just don’t think it’s the community they claim to serve.
    -JS

  11. Ashlee says:

    Ok, may have been slightly confused as to which Daryl that Ray was referring to. But the rest of my rant still stands!

    ah yes, Alpine shire’s infamous fomer mayor is also named Daryl, that he drinks (excessively) is something of a matter of public record. -JS

  12. raydixon says:

    I could tell you’re not related to Daryl Pearce, Ashlee. You’re too coherent.

  13. Ashlee says:

    I understand your points Jack, and I agree (from anecdotal stuff I have heard, I am too young to know) that Dean Street isn’t as dangerous or out of control as it has been in the past. But I also think it can be improved, and I don’t think attacking the late night food retailers is going to make a positive difference at all.

    Yes, our main customers after midnight are people who have been drinking, but not all, or even most, of them have been drinking to a point that is antisocial. The overwhelming majority of them are just tipsy, having a laugh, doing what young people do and don’t cause any damage to other people or property.

    It’s often more of a love fest in there than anything else. Everyone wants to chat with “Dazza”, smooches are offered along with handfuls of change from plucky young lads looking for a slice or two of meatlovers, and people want to tell you grand yarns about their nights or their lives or local politics (perhaps we should set up an internet terminal and they should come on here instead!). On a night with no trouble, it’s actually a really fun place to work. That’s why my parents have stayed there for so long.

    My dad is on first name basis with a huge proportion of our customers, and it’s that kind of on the ground approach that the Albury Police should maybe think about. Perhaps if they built up more of a connection with the community, and more of a relationship with late night food traders rather than the kind of adversarial situation now where these things are fought across the pages of the local press and in backroom meetings with policy makers, we wouldn’t see as much trouble.

    If you look at the way that police forces work effectively in areas that are particularly challenged by social issues (for example, Kings Cross and Oxford Street in Sydney), on the ground solutions-based policing has made a huge difference. Kings Cross has been hugely turned around by new approaches to crime management, where Oxford Street is currently facing some big challenges because of the changing culture in the area.

    It’s interesting though what the City of Sydney Council is proposing to reduce violence on Oxford Street… more late night dining and night time markets!

    Of course, a lot of Albury’s Policing problem lies in resourcing, so the Albury Police force is stuck in a hard place too… as you said it is an issue that goes beyond the border.

    It’s a tricky one, but I really don’t think cracking down on socially responsible small businesses is going to improve anything.

  14. Well we agree on that I guess, I really don’t know what the solution to violence on Dean Street is beyond saying that it seems to be a cultural problem among certain sections of the community.
    Like any cultural shift it isn’t going to happen overnight, it will take time.

    Does Sweethearts employ security? Obviously they aren’t a licenced venue so it isn’t a liquor licencing issue, but I think because of the nature of the business (and more specifically it’s location and current trading hours) they are always going to have a larger proportion of inhebriated people coming through the doors than comparable food vendors for whom the factors mentioned don’t apply.
    As I understand it, Albury council has no immediate plans to further restrict licenced venues by way of a “lock-out” or other means so they are obviously not looking to “shut down” Dean Street any earlier, that much is obvious.

    To me, I think the thing for your Dad to do would be to weigh up how important it is to keep trading after midnight to his buisiness and if it is vital, look at factoring in an hourly rate for a private security person on premesis after midnight on the weekends.
    I don’t go to Dean Street at night on the weekends all that often, but I’m sure I have seen a security person outside Sweethearts in the past, a couple of years ago I think.
    Anyway, I seriously doubt even the most zealous robo-cop would be able to demonstrate Sweethearts posed any sort of public safety risk if you could demonstrate you had in place levels of security comparable to other venues in the area trading at similar hours.
    Might help your Dad’s public liability insurance premiums too.

  15. Pingback: Profile: Daryl Betteridge | Kieran's Review

  16. Pirsey says:

    This is very hot info. I think I’ll share it on Twitter.

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