The introduction of a liquor ban to reduce obscene behaviour around the Greerton Village Shopping Centre has been ranked a top priority by the Tauranga City Council.
Councillors yesterday unanimously supported a move to fast track the introduction of the liquor ban after a passionate appeal by Councillor Terry Molloy. It meant that an amendment to the liquor bylaw that already banned drinking in public places in the Tauranga CBD and the Mount downtown would be drafted as soon as possible.
The council also agreed to include Papamoa's Palm Beach Plaza and surrounding retail areas in the extension to the ban.
Mr Molloy read a letter from Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh. She reported several incidents of intoxicated people sleeping in the school grounds, often on desks outside classrooms, and urinating against buildings. They had sex in the cloak bays, vomited and threw rubbish around the school.
Ross Clarry of Tauranga Drycleaners said he had to deal with people who became obnoxious and threatening. He regularly found intoxicated people drinking, vomiting and urinating outside Greerton Hall in their service lane. Belinda Sands of Greerton Lotto said vagrants had come in asking to use the toilet and when she had refused, they had urinated in the garden outside the shop. There had been incidents of abuse and one man had soiled himself.
Mayor Stuart Crosby questioned whether the problem was being drunk and abusive in a public place or drinking in a public place. Experience in the Tauranga and Mount downtowns had shown liquor bans just shifted the problem.
Soon the whole city would be a liquor-free zone, he said.