Having Devil’s Hollow Brewery classified as a pub will be “good for the area” and help drive business to the region, says Dubbo mayor Ben Shields.
A planning proposal from Devil’s Hollow Brewery has been submitted to council to allow the facility to function as a pub.
According to the council report, “the proposed use of the site as a pub will allow patrons to consume alcoholic beverages on site without the need to purchase food. Operation of the site as a pub will also enable to use of electronic gaming machines at the premises.”.
If the reclassification goes ahead, up to 20 poker machines could be installed at the site.
Devil’s Hollow Brewery marketing manager Leanne O’Sullivan said the changes the company is seeking would not detract from the brewery’s current offerings.
“Like all businesses we want to continue moving forward and improving the services we offer to our customers. We sought a full hotelier license for the future sustainability, growth and flexibility of operations. We are excited about our future and what we will be able to offer Dubbo people as well as the many tourists that visit us,” she said.
“A full hotelier licence in no way detracts from our focus as a craft beer destination, a craft beer manufacturer and a premium tourist destination for Dubbo.
“We look forward to many years of creating wonderful craft beer, satisfying patrons who enjoy the ambiance, vibe and attraction of our venue and product.”
Cr Shields has supported the push for the brewery to be classified as a pub, especially because it’s not in a residential area. He said the biggest complaints about pubs came from the houses that were nearby.
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But, the changes at the brewery would encourage more businesses, the mayor said.
“Anything you can do to get more jobs, more industry, more things happening in this region we should be doing,” Cr Shields said.
Deputy mayor Stephen Lawrence also gave his support for the planning proposal.
While he has stated his opposition to poker machines in the past, Cr Lawrence said it was not council’s place to stop the proposal from going ahead.
“The real issue with poker machines is places that have a very large amount of them, and we all know who they are. And we all know the social impact that has on the community,” he said.
“That is not really what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a small business that wants to do what other small businesses do and keep itself viable and…I think personally it would be an abuse of our planning powers if we were to knock this back on account of the prospect of 20 poker machines coming into the community.”
Cr Lawrence said it was up to a different level of government to set the regulatory framework around poker machines.
There are currently 586 electronic gaming machines in Dubbo. The maximum number currently permitted in Dubbo is 591.
The planning proposal will be forwarded to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for a gateway determination.
It will then be placed on public exhibition for a minimum of 28 days to get community feedback. Following that, another report will be prepared for council for consideration.
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