Dry zone wanted in stadium area

Concerns about a cocktail of booze, students and the Cricket World Cup have prompted Dunedin police to seek a temporary alcohol ban in the area around Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The request, if approved, would see streets around the stadium, the University Oval cricket ground and Logan Park declared alcohol-free from February 17-28.

The temporary ban would cover most Orientation Week events at the stadium, two Highlanders matches and three Cricket World Cup fixtures at nearby University Oval.

Alcohol would still be served inside the venues, but streets leading to them would become dry zones during the ban.

The proposal will be considered at a Dunedin City Council meeting on Monday.

Sergeant Ian Paulin, of Dunedin, in a letter to the council, said the two-week period could be a ''high risk'' time for alcohol-related harm, given the mix of events scheduled for the area.

The temporary liquor ban would give police ''another enforcement tool'' to curb alcohol-related harm, he said.

''The main issue at large-scale events at Forsyth Barr Stadium is patrons that have pre-loaded on their way to the stadium.

''There is nothing to stop a patron from consuming alcohol right up to the gates,'' he said.

Police were called to 47 alcohol-related incidents within 1km of Logan Park during last year's Orientation Week, he said.

This year, Orientation Week would coincide with Dunedin's Cricket World Cup matches, which would be covered by international media, he said.

A report by council alcohol licensing adviser Kevin Mechen, to be considered on Monday, said the Highlanders versus Crusaders match on February 21 was considered a particularly ''high risk event''.

While the temporary ban could be seen as ''an overreaction to a problem that may not eventuate'', it was supported by the University of Otago, Cricket Otago, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and stadium licensee Compass Catering.

Otago University Students' Association president Paul Hunt said the association worked closely with the council on all major student events, and supported the proposed temporary liquor ban.

However, the OUSA had asked for the temporary liquor ban zone's western boundary to be shifted east, from Clyde St to Harbour Tce, to minimise the impact on student flats.

If approved, it would add to an existing central city liquor ban, introduced in 2004, which covered the Octagon and parts of George and Princes Sts and surrounding roads.

In 2013, councillors voted against extending the existing liquor ban to include North Dunedin, after considering the issue for at least the fourth time since 2006.

Instead, the focus was to be on a more ''collaborative approach'' by key stakeholders to addressing alcohol-related issues in North Dunedin and the city, councillors decided.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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