Call for reduced liquor trading hours

An agreement for reduced liquor trading hours on public holidays has been reached for The Muize shopping centre.

Management from Checkers and Liquor City have committed to reduced liquor trading hours from Easter Monday, April 2, to between 9am and 1pm.

There has also been an agreement that no alcohol will be sold to those who are already intoxica-

These steps are the result of discussions with the relevant management bodies by Muizenberg Lakeside Residents’ Association (MLRA) and Muizen-
berg Improvement District (MID), who were supported by Law Enforcement and security companies.

The civic bodies took concerns from the community, about the affect of extended alcohol sales, to the management to see how the situation could be resolved.

Catherine Dillon, chairperson of the MLRA, met with the False Bay Echo to explain the shared vision for the area.

“This result is simply a matter of good communication and the willingness of everyone involved to work together in creating a safe and healthy environment for all,” she said.

Ms Dillon said the beach is being highlighted as a family environment, foremost. “We want people to understand that the beach is for ice-creams, families building sandcastles, and surfers. Alcohol is not allowed on the beach and compromises everyone’s safety and enjoyment,” she said.

The area had been the centre of concern over the festive season as community members questioned the behaviour of some patrons, who used these outlets to purchase alcohol to take to the beach; especially after having had their al-
cohol confiscated by Law Enforcement, and some of whom were drinking on the steps or streets nearby after making their purchases.

The MLRA and MIDS met with centre management and management of Liquor City and Checkers to find a way forward, and are thrilled that they have had such positive results.

It helps, Ms Dillon points out, that she is not pushing any sort of agenda to close legal businesses down. She respects that businesses have employees who rely on them to put food on the table and that they are an essential part of the economy.

Ms Dillon is a also a self-confessed master wine maker and is very involved in the wine tourism industry. “There is a misconception that cheap plonk is doing the damage and there have even been some suggestions made that the prices should be raised to take the product out of the price range of people considered to be at risk – in other words – people who are homeless,” Ms Dillon said.

“My point is that any product that is good enough to pass the benchmarks necessary to
have it placed on the shelves, is
not the problem. It is so much more complex than that, and yes, our responsibility to the community as a whole includes people
who are homeless: but we need to be mindful of our approach and what solutions we can create,” she said.

She said that there is also the situation of a woman who lives in Ward 64 who makes her own alcohol produce; and is selling it. “This can go horribly wrong as there are absolutely no safety tests being done on this product: this is more of a concern for me than any product that can be legally purchased,” Ms Dillon said.

As a resident of Lakeside her whole life, Ms Dillon says she often takes walks through the picnic areas at the estuary. “I can guarantee that it is not cheap wine bottles nor pap-sakke that are cleaned up at the end of the day. It’s Johnny Walker whiskeys and Castle Lager cans and bottles. Cost is not the issue. Certainly, the fact that people arrive with cases of booze and spend the day drinking, then get in a car and drive home – turning their cars into potential weapons – that is a great part of the issue.”

Grit security company personnel will now work closely with MIDS, MLRA and Law Enforcement through communication in the shared alcohol WhatsApp group, and through emails and telephoniccommunicationto
keep an eye on alcohol con-
sumption throughout the sub-

Sarah Swabey, portfolio manager of Spire Property Group, which manages the shopping centre, said: “I think it is a great initiative and am looking forward to working with Catherine and the community.”

The agreement went beyond just the reduction in trading times on public holidays.

Ms Swabey confirmed that community groups like MIDS, MLRA and neighbourhood watches could use space at the centre, for awareness programmes with respect to alcoholism and foetal alcohol syndrome.

Bernard Calaca, the Western Cape regional manager of Liquor City said: “Liquor City have always been responsible traders and as a company we feel that it is not only our responsibility, but that of all businesses within the Muizenberg area, to trade responsibly – and
to ensure that the community’s interest and wellbeing is prioritised.”

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