THE City of Ballarat has launched legal proceedings seeking an enforcement order in relation to the operation of a Lydiard Street nightclub.
The venue in question is the new kid on the block - The Deck - which opened on Lydiard Street in September 2019.
It comes after The Courier earlier this monthreported that police were investigating certain night venue operators in the Ballarat central business district that were allegedly not abiding by their liquor licences.
City of Ballarat's Director of Infrastructure and Environment, Terry Demeo, said the venue had been the subject of surveillance in recent weeks.
"The City of Ballarat has lodged an application for an enforcement order in relation to amenity, patron management and other issues to ensure that the appropriate operation of the facility is ongoing," he said.
In response to questions about the council's specific concerns, Mr Demeo said a request for an enforcement order had been lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), meaning legal proceedings were currently under way which prohibited the ability for further comment.
"This is a legal proceeding seeking enforcement action from the Tribunal and given its legal implications, it is not a matter which City of Ballarat will comment on in advance of the Tribunal proceedings," he said.
In late November police distributed a letter to address concerns raised by members of the Ballarat Liquor Accord about the conduct of some businesses in relation to their liquor licenses, in which they reiterated the commitment to promoting responsible serving of alcohol to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm.
While in the past Lydiard Street had been a hot spot for alcohol-related issues such as assaults, in recent years - with a collaborative effort of both members of the liquor accord and police - it has markedly improved after measures such as an early lockout from venues and not serving alcoholic shots after 1am were implemented.
Most operators in the CBD have signed up to the accord and agree to its conditions, including to not condone or encourage the rapid and excessive consumption of alcohol.
The Deck signed up to the accord last week.
One industry source The Courier spoke to, who did not want to be named, said other venues had been raising concerns since The Deck opened.
While they said operators welcomed new businesses, they objected to any commercial advantage they believed could be gained by not meeting the conditions of the liquor accord.
They also cited concerns that without the guidelines of the liquor accord the street could return to the more rowdy days of the past.
The Deckvenue manager Rhys Nicholson said while he was happy for the investigation to be conducted, it had been "upsetting" as the venue had opened for people to have a good time. He said the business would work with authorities and other operators going forward.
I am looking forward to working with people in Ballarat and hopefully we can make this work to make it a long and sustainable business.Rhys Nicholson
Acting Senior Sergeant Anthony Traynor, who oversees liquor licensing in the police service area, said ongoing investigations were being conducted into a premises that had been reported to be in alleged breach of the alcohol laws.
Acting Senior Sergeant Traynor said regardless of the venue, in the lead-up to the holidays police were emphasising the responsible service of alcohol.
He also said conditions of any liquor licence include not advertising against the guidelines of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation to ensure patron safety.
"Police and businesses in the accord are all trying to achieve the same thing. We want people to enjoy Christmas and other events without unruly behaviour or assaults," he said.
A liquor accord meeting will be hosted on Friday to discuss the issues.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation were also contacted for comment.
-With Jolyon Attwooll
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