Bendigo councillors rejected an application by the All Seasons Hotel to extend its liquor licence trading hours until 4am at weekends, with the deputy mayor suggesting longer hours could facilitate “convenience gambling”.
The McIvor Road hotel’s management wanted to push the closing time on weekends from 3am to 4am and on weekdays from 1am to 3am, in a bid, it said, to remain competitive with other venues.
However, in discussing the planning application in the council chamber on Wednesday evening, deputy mayor Jennifer Alden said the new hours could increase incidents of anti-social behaviour.
“It may help facilitate convenience gambling and the increase of problem gambling,” she said.
“There’s the potential for adverse social impacts on the community.”
Cr Alden said by her calculations, the venue was only shut for 32 hours each week.
The Lockwood Ward councillor last year opposed the planning application.
VIDEO: Bendigo council meeting May 16
“In my opinion we should be placing public health and safety ahead of the needs of venues to generate additional sales,” Cr Alden said at the time.
“What is it about their business model that isn’t sufficient currently.”
All Seasons Director Jeanine Cooke said Ms Alden’s assertions were a “bit of a stretch”.
“If you are in the city then maybe there is a link between extended licences and alcohol, but here that is a bit of a stretch, we are predominantly a family hotel,” she said last year.