Bars want daytime closure of Octagon

The Dunedin City Council will be asked to consider trialling daytime closures of the Octagon, after council staff rejected an idea to close the Octagon for entire weekends, citing concerns from police and objections from affected businesses.

The council has yet to consider the report which recommends rejecting a trial closure of the lower Octagon from 6pm on Fridays to 6pm on Sundays to improve the ambience of the area during the summer.

Following the stated concerns of police the closure could attract more revellers to an area where the most assaults occurred, and that police patrolled the lower Octagon by car and could not guarantee a foot patrol, daytime closures from midday to 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays could be more suitable, Octagon bar owner and Lower Octagon Forum spokesman Grant Ellis said.

He has asked council planning and environment committee chairman Michael Guest to raise the suggestion of daytime closures when the report is discussed at Monday's meeting.

Mr Ellis disputed some of the figures given in the report from council staff's consultation with business owners in the lower Octagon and lower Stuart St.

The report said there was not a clear majority in favour of the idea, but Mr Ellis believed less than 25% of businesses that were open on the weekend objected to the idea.

Council manager city development Anna Johnson said she was not surprised Mr Ellis may have got different responses from businesses than the council.

"People want to be neighbourly and want to get on.

What they might say to Mr Ellis might be different from what they say to us."

While everybody had been given an opportunity to respond to the consultation, not everybody had.

Council staff were professional and had gone into the exercise with open minds and without "any bias whatsoever", she said.

"We want the Octagon to be a successful place as much as everyone."

- edith.schofield@odt.co.nz

 

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