An application by Pick n Pay to open a bottle store in The Arcade has reignited the debate around whether Fish Hoek should retain its unique status as a dry town.
Julian Hobson, the Pick n Pay franchisee in Fish Hoek, confirmed that the liquor licence application was made on Friday January 27, and that there is a 30 day period for comments or objections, which closes on Friday March 3.
“Our customers in Fish Hoek have told us that they would enjoy the convenience of being able to buy liquor where they shop for their groceries, from a responsible retailer. The transparent licence application process has been followed and we will be monitoring the response of our customers with interest. We would always comply in full with all provisions of the Liquor Act in the responsible sale of alcohol,” he said.
Warrant Officer Peter Middleton of Fish Hoek SAPS also confirmed an application had been made on January 27 – as required by law as it is the last Friday of the month”.
Warrant Officer Middleton said the copy of the application was taken to the City Of Cape Town and is now with the local ward.
He said the application was published in the Government Gazette on Friday February 3.
He said letters have been received by the council and his office, with regards to this application.
He added that all written objections or approvals should be submitted on or before Friday March 3 and must be submitted with the contact details of the person as well as factual reasons for their objection or approval.
“This will afford the Liquor Authority the mind-set of the public relating to the application,” Warrant Officer Middleton explained.
Chairperson of the Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (FHVRRA) Allen Rose-Innes who has raised the issue at the association’s meetings, has not taken sides, but simply asked people to put their support or objections in writing.
“By email on the afternoon of Thursday, February 2, we were advised by Sub-Council 19 that the Fish Hoek Family Store (Pick n Pay) in the Arcade has applied for a Liquor Licence to permit the sale of liquor for consumption off the premises. This means a fully-fledged bottle store for all types of liquor: wines, beers and spirits,” he said.
“It is proposed that Shop number 12, next to the Florist, be extended and be converted to become ‘Pick n Pay Liquor Fish Hoek’.
“Support or non-support of this application must be handed in to the Sub-council 19 at the Fish Hoek civic centre,” he said.
The matter is highlighted for discussion at the association’s AGM scheduled for today, Thursday, February 23.
Ward Councillor Felicity Purchase said that applications only close at the end of this month so the application will be reported at the next Sub Council meeting.
“However many objections have been received. One of the primary ones is that there is a title deed restriction prohibiting the sale of liquor in the area,” she said.
Donald Moore, Fish Hoek resident and member of Dry Fish Hoek, said: “Pick n Pay has for some time been contemplating making an application for a licence to sell liquor for consumption off the premises. In the near future, probably at the end of this month, we can expect that the application will be advertised in the Provincial Gazette and media, and the public has a second opportunity to make representations within 28 days, this time to the liquor licensing authority.”
He said this second opportunity is the more significant, and anybody who objects to the granting of the off-sales licence should lodge representations against it.
Fish Hoek resident Joan Moore weighed in on the matter, saying: “Everyone I have spoken to has the same feeling against the application for a liquor license by Pick n Pay in Fish Hoek. There is a general feeling of dismay and disappointment at the move made by them.
“Although I am a non-drinker myself, I have no objection to others who choose to enjoy a drink in their own home. This is not the issue at stake in the move to block Pick n Pay’s application for a liquor license. Responsible adults already purchase their liquor elsewhere. Visitors to our town might be surprised to be sent to Sun Valley, Simon’s Town or Kalk Bay should they wish to buy a bottle of something, but that is not a reason for providing a bottle store in the Arcade.”
Explaining her objection to the application, Ms Moore said: “Fish Hoek is the only dry town in South Africa – this is an historical aspect which should be upheld and valued. It gives us something different,” she said.
Ms Moore also believes that Fish Hoek’s status as a town which is ideally suited to family life would be under threat should there be increased availability of alcohol because liquor is the “most invidious and dangerous of drugs”.
“This is acknowledged by the government and steps to lessen the influence of alcohol on the citizens of South Africa are frequently mentioned – although seldom effected.
“Social acceptance of alcoholic consumption is fashionable. This social acceptance causes people – the youth and the vulnerable of our country, as well as those who should be wiser – to use and abuse it because ‘everybody does it’.”
Ms Moore also cited a potential increase in road accidents and crime, should alcohol be more freely available.
Another resident, John James, said: “None of our friends and acquaintances see the need for a retail liquor licence in Fish Hoek. Anyone who wants a beer can go to the beach restaurant, or other establishments. When we buy our wine we can do that at Sun Valley, Kalk Bay or have it delivered There are lots of (homeless people) in Fish Hoek who would like to buy cheep wine here, but that would be to the detriment of the inhabitants,” he said.
Any residents in favour of the application have remained very quiet about it and the False Bay Echo, despite asking, could find nobody who would publicly support the application.
Fish Hoek has kept to two of the original six conditions set in the 1818 grant of the land – originally a farm of 1 520 ha named Vischhoek – to Andries Bruins.
Four conditions, due to the passing of time or method of travel, have fallen away but two are still in place today. Clauses V and VI of the original agreement still exist and read as follows: “V: Not to keep a public wine house; and VI: That the right of fishing shall be free as heretofore, and the Strand [beach] itself quite open to the Public.”
Mr Moore has offered to help interested people with details about the objection process. Call him on 021 782 0343
Submissions should be handed to the liquor officer at the Fish Hoek police station.