Home' Central Canterbury News : September 4th 2013 Contents 12 CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 4, 2013
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Failed publican hits out at town
Left town: Former Springfield publican Malcolm West has blamed Springfield locals for the closure of the pub, after
he feels he was forced out of town because he was gay.
Photo: WILMA MCKORKINDALE
By GEORGINA STYLIANOU
RESIDENTS OF Springfield are
hitting back at claims their red-
neck homophobic mentality cau-
sed the demise of the local pub.
Malcolm West, former owner of
the Springfield Hotel, said he
received constant name-calling
and abuse because he was gay
and advertised his business as a
gay-friendly establishment. Ris-
ing rent, insurance premiums and
the Canterbury earthquakes had
also affected business and his
company was placed into liqui-
dation early this month.
It was a constant battle and I
didn t have the support of the
locals, he said.
I found [the community] very
homophobic . . . and it was
Residents resent the claims and
feel Mr West s failure had nothing
to do with his sexuality, but more
to do with his business decisions --
including converting the pub s
toilets into unisex facilities. One
upset resident, Graeme Dawson,
wrote a letter to the editor of the
The Press after Mr West s com-
ments infuriated him. Mr Dawson
said Mr West had copped a bit of
flak for being gay when he first
took the pub over in 2009, But it
was all tongue-in-cheek and the
people who very occasionally took
it too far were never locals. It s not
the town s fault that his pub
failed . Public records show that
Contact Energy filed liquidation
applications in the Christchurch
High Court in May this year and
also in February last year.
Ernst & Young was appointed
liquidator of Springfield Hotel
2009 Ltd on August 8.
The Selwyn District Council
confirmed Mr West did building
work inside the pub s neighbour-
ing backpackers hostel without
consent and the building had been
closed since 2011.
Brent Gardner, who has lived in
Springfield all his life, said the
pub s failure had nothing to do
with Mr West s sexuality, but
more to do with his business acu-
men not being as strong as it
could have been .
The pub was the hub of the com-
munity and he was gutted to see
It had nothing to do with him
beinggay. . .butattheendofthe
day, a gay couple came to a
country town and you would think
they would have prepared to be a
little bit thick-skinned.
Mr West was subject to drun-
ken teasing sometimes, but the
community did not reject him for
Springfield Hotel landlord Rob
Hellriegel said Mr West fell
behind on his rent payments
and he also missed quite a few
operating payments .
This became an ongoing issue
. . .andhewasissuedwitha
notice that gave him time to come
up with arrears, which he didn t
do. Mr Hellriegel was positive
about selling and wanted to
reassure residents they aren t
going to lose their local pub .
Saints score a trophy hat trick
THE PREBBLETON Saints managed to claim the
Canterbury Sunday Soccer League Trophy for the
third time last weekend, with a 4-2 win over
Lyttelton Borough at ASB Football Park.
The trophy is a knockout competition, but the
Saints had to overcome some history with
Lyttelton Borough, having already gone down to
them twice in the regular season.
Captain Thomas Newton said he was
immensely proud of his team, who had also clai-
med the top division title this year.
It topped off a good season for the club, with the
Prebbleton Rovers also winning their division.
Club president Shannon Gilmore said members
now looked forward to summer Tuesday night
five-a-side in Prebbleton, starting on October 1.
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