THE Groove Saint nightclub is under fire from the Albury Council after being named one of the state’s most violent venues.
In an unprecedented move, the council last night expressed its disappointment at the recent listing.
It urged the owners to cut the number of assaults so that the venue was removed from the list.
Cr David Thurley’s move was supported by all councillors with the exception of former mayor Alice Glachan and Daryl Betteridge.
Cr Betteridge had declared a conflict of interest due to his role as Liquor Accord chairman.
Recent state government data showed Groove Saint had 12 violent incidents a year, a figure disputed by operator Craig Shearer.
“If you compare that with some Sydney venues with 1000 patrons and trade seven days a week, it is clear Groove Saint has a higher level of violent incidents per capita and per trading hours,” Cr Thurley said.
“I am also concerned with reported remarks of the publican who supposedly said the listing wouldn’t change how the club operated.
“Licensees are proud of the recent decrease in assaults in the CBD so we need to be cautious.
“I ask, are we relying on good luck or do we need to do something more?”
Cr Glachan said she agreed with Cr Thurley’s sentiments but was concerned the council was telling businesses how to run their affairs.
“We will be leaving the gates open for other people in our community, organisations and businesses, to tell us how we should run our business,” she said.
“Will we want to make comment on waiting times at the hospital, strikes by teachers, the overturning of ACT legislation enabling gay marriage or tell Wodonga Council what it should do about road closures?
“I wouldn’t be too pleased if Groove Saint proprietors told me how to run my business.”
Cr Henk van de Ven said the council was reflecting a view of many in the community.
“We are not telling them how to run their business,” he said.
“We are telling them we are disappointed you’ve been listed and we want you to do something about it.
“I’ve been fighting this issue for the 10 years I’ve been on council and have put off-side the police and licensed venues in trying to get a better resolution.”
Mr Shearer last night said he was comfortable with the measures already in place at Groove Saint.
“We work hard every week to provide a safe environment,” he said.
“The 12 assaults attributed to the venue is not great. We accept it is a work in progress to get that down.
“We are the latest trading and largest capacity nightclub in Albury and understand incidents are going to occur.
“I would invite any Albury councillor to spend a night in the club to see what we do.”