While the Liquor Act prevents the sale of alcohol from a service station in theory, the reality is a divider of a few centimetres can make all the difference.
This technicality is one of the main reasons Shoalhaven City Council planning staff did not have grounds to refuse an application for a Bottle-O franchise in the Enhance Service Station at South Nowra.
The proponent will convert the mechanical workshop joined to the petrol station into the bottle shop.
Shoalhaven City Council development manager Robert Russell said the public and licensing sergeant were generally opposed to another liquor outlet on the highway.
However he said the licensing court had previously issued the Skyview liquor outlet on Bolong Road in Bomaderry with a licence.
“As that is an identical situation to the proposal at South Nowra, we would find it very difficult to refuse an application for the same purpose,” Mr Russell said.
“We don’t administer the Liquor Act, the police do.
“If they feel compelled to refuse a liquor licence they can do so under their legislation.”
Mr Russell pointed out that council did take issue with the Dan Murphy’s proposal on the site of the Archer Resort.
“We spent considerable time, energy and money defending an appeal,” he said.
“In the end after all the social scientists and expert opinions, the court held the view that a liquor outlet could proceed on that site.”
While alcohol-fuelled violence claims headlines almost daily in Sydney at present the recent approval of the Bottle-O store raised concern and opposition from Shoalhaven councillor Andrew Guile and the Nowra Police.
Cr Guile said staff should have sought the opinions of the elected council before making the decision.
Police crime prevention officer Senior Constable Scott Chapman had raised concerns on the back of the Dan Murphy’s approval.
Police are concerned about security in such a remote location, and the possibility of motorists buying alcohol and consuming it as they drove on the highway.