By James Atkinson
A Fremantle café has won approval to serve alcohol despite tough opposition from a local resident who argued the venue's modest intentions would cause ill health, annoyance and inconvenience to its neighbours.
Located on South Terrace, South Fremantle, the Corner Room currently trades as an unlicensed café/restaurant.
A neighbouring resident opposed the bid by owners Dean Dalessio and Nick Spano to obtain a small bar licence for the venue, which was resoundingly supported by the local council and a petition of 160 people.
The resident claimed her son was already having difficulty sleeping because of the noise from the café, which closes at 10.30pm. She said smoke from the café's outdoor area, which is 15 metres away from her house, was aggravating his asthma.
The resident argued the café was already having various impacts on amenity for residents and that the grant of a small bar licence would cause property values to fall.
Dean Dalessio, who co-owns the Corner Room with Nick Spano, told TheShout that the café is family-oriented and most of its patrons are aged between 45 and 65.
"She was carrying on like we are a nightclub in the heart of Fremantle," he said.
The Commissioner of Police also opposed the application on several grounds, including that the Fremantle area attracts a large number of 'at risk' groups such as indigenous and fly in / fly out workers.
The Commissioner argued that the proposed change from a café/restaurant to a licensed small bar may see the clientele change and attract these at risk groups.
He requested that if the licence was allowed, the venue should have restrictions including a ban on shots and people wearing outlaw motorcycle gang clothing.
But Dalessio said the venue's upmarket beverage offering was based on wine and boutique beers to meet the demands of its middle-aged patrons.
"We were a bit disappointed by how long it's taken us as it's cost us a lot of money," he said.
"We've had to trade with just food and we're just keeping our head above the water with all the money we spent on renovation."
Liquor Commission of WA chairman Jim Freemantle late last month dismissed the resident's objection to the liquor licence, finding the small bar licence was in the public interest.
The aggrieved resident has since moved from the area. Dalessio told TheShout the new neighbour is completely in favour of the venture.