THE City of Rockingham could ban nightclubs from opening at the foreshore and allow them only in the city centre if a plan is approved at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Councillors will vote on an amendment to the Town Planning Scheme to prohibit nightclubs from operating in the Waterfront Village Zone after councillors at Monday’s planning services committee unanimously supported it.
Under the proposal, existing nightclubs such as iBar and Liquid Niteclub could remain open, but any new clubs would be prohibited.
The City would then consider nightclub proposals only within the city centre – near Rockingham Shopping Centre and the Leisure Inn.
It comes as the City remains locked in a drawn-out legal battle with Kevin Mann-owned Tocoan Pty Ltd that operates iBar (formerly Vibe nightclub) and Zelda’s.
Earlier this month the City launched an appeal against a Liquor Commission decision to award Mr Mann $20,000 in costs after Commission deputy chairman Seamus Rafferty found the City’s applications lodged against the clubs were “vexatious”.
While the foreshore area is home to several bars, clubs and restaurants, an officer’s report to council said the City had over a long time received complaints about anti-social behaviour in the area that was “linked to nightclub patrons”.
The report said the area was a “boutique and family-orientated waterfront” and nightclubs were not compatible.
It said a City survey of nearby residents and businesses in 2010 found nearly half the respondents had experienced damage to their property and just under a third had had an intoxicated person enter their premises.
The City’s assistant director of planning and development services, Mike Ross, said under the proposed amendment existing nightclub businesses could stay unless they closed for more than six months.
“If the use ceases over a period of six months or it was substantially destroyed it would expire,” he said.