Sydney pub The Welcome Hotel has been threatened with fines of $8000 a day if it uses its courtyard BBQ, following a smoke complaint by a neighbour.
Balmain council inspectors informed pub owner Liam O’Keefe that the smoke “had the potential to negatively impact the amenity of neighbouring premises and the environment”.
“Blue smoke, fumes and cooking smells were observed when the barbecue was located in the open shed,” the ban ordered.
“I am fed up, the hospitality industry is on its knees, we have this over the top red tape and regulations and we can’t use the barbecue,” O’Keefe told the Daily Telegraph.
The pub has been barbecuing for the last six years, but upgraded to a charcoal barbeque last year.
“It’s not like I’m burning rubber tyres. Who doesn’t love a barbecue? When you’re born in this country you’ve got to love a BBQ, don’t you?”
O’Keefe has been served a “Prevention Notice” — which included a $550 fine and threats of $8000 fines for each day the offence continues.
“I am so frustrated over this, pubs are part of the heritage of Balmain but three pubs have closed and two more are due to shut close in the next month,” O’Keefe added.
He also told Daily Mail: “I’m losing money every day the grill is not open, it’s a terrific addition to the pub and makes up about 45-50% of our weekend revenue.”
Inner West Council mayor Darcy Byrne said: “It seems pretty nonsensical for a pub that has existed since more than a century ago to be threatened with fines over cooking food on the weekend.”
“The culture of complaint that has developed in governments in Sydney is completely out of keeping with what the general population wants.”
Byrne noted on Facebook: “Dear patrons and supporters of The Welcome Hotel, I’ve been informed about council officers recent directive to the pub to stop their delicious BBQ on weekends. I’ll be popping down to the pub this weekend to buy a beer and talk through a common sense solution with the owners.
Fans of the pub are up in arms over the ban. One wrote on Facebook: “Why the bloody hell would you buy a house near a pub then complain about it? I’ve lived near the Welcome for over 50 years and it’s the best pub in Rozelle and the occasional aroma of the BBQ is fantastic. Tell the NIMBYs to bugger off.”
The Welcome Hotel has launched a Change.org petition to save its BBQ. Click here to read more.