THE end credits have rolled at council on a plan by Hoyts cinemas in Frankston to sell alcohol in their cinemas.
Frankston councillors voted at the 13 August public meeting to issue a planning notice of refusal to the cinema, which was seeking to serve alcohol inside its foyer and auditoriums every day of the week.
Under the proposal, G and PG-rated films would have been alcohol-free.
The final vote split the councillors’ votes 3-3, with the mayor’s casting vote tipping the balance in favour of no booze sales at Hoyts Frankston.
Mayor Cr Colin Hampton said that the “area which has been asked for to consume alcohol” was the biggest problem with the proposal.
“The area takes in all of the foyer and all of the cinema areas. This theatre encourages children to come to the theatre,” he said.
“If this gets up and they sell drinks from the foyer, there is no way you can stop anyone from drinking alcohol in the foyer area when there are children running in and out. It should be in a controlled atmosphere.”
Cr Glenn Aitken also supported the refusal, telling council “we have enough issues in this town with alcohol without making it freely available in a cinema. I do not see how it is the time and the place to have alcohol served in a cinema setting.”
The move to deny the sale of booze inside the cinema was also backed by Cr Steve Toms.
“Hoyts is a major corporation. They shouldn’t be serving alcohol between the hours of 11am and 1am,” Cr Toms said.
“I live in the city centre and I see drunken ‘yahoos’ carrying on until all hours, and quite frankly I don’t want this sort of behaviour to happen around children. I’m trying to protect our young children.”
Deputy mayor Cr Michael O’Reilly was supported by Cr Quinn McCormack and Cr Brian Cunial in voting to approve the proposal to sell liquor on the premises.
Crs Kris Bolam and Sandra Mayer abstained from voting.
Cr O’Reilly told council “these days you can download a movie pretty as soon as it comes out, which is really hurting the bottom line of cinemas. There’s been talk for many years that cinemas were going to die out. Luckily they’re not, and one of the reasons they’re not dying out is because movie theatres are trying to change.”
Cr McCormack said that “the days of prohibition are over” when backing the sale of liquor at Hoyts.
The proposal to serve alcohol at the cinema was first made to council in January by Sophie Kuszircuz of Contour Town Planners, representing Hoyts. She said that “we understand that this community, like many others, faces challenges with regards to alcohol-related behavioural incidents and we understand Frankston Council takes licensing matters very seriously as it should” (“Booze pitch for cinema”, The Times 5/2/18).
There could be a sequel in the works despite council’s decision. Hoyts can appeal to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.