Booze shop protest

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Janie Smith

FOUR Mt Roskill schools are band­ing to­gether in an ef­fort to stop an­other liquor store be­ing es­tab­lished in their sub­urb.

A liquor li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion has been made for an empty shop on McKinnon St, di­rectly op­po­site Hay Park School and Waikowhai In­ter­me­di­ate.

The two schools, along with Waikowhai Pri­mary and Mt Roskill In­ter­me­di­ate, have writ­ten to the district li­cens­ing au­thor­ity to voice their con­cerns.

Hay Park prin­ci­pal Mar­garet Aik­man says the school al­ready deals with high lev­els of van­dal­ism, mainly from groups of peo­ple drink­ing al­co­hol on school grounds, smash­ing bot­tles and dam­ag­ing prop­erty.

“There is a large num­ber of bot­tles left around in Keith Hay Park and in the school grounds.”

She says there is a liquor store in Mt Roskill South that is less than a kilo­me­tre away from the pro­posed new store.

“We just don’t need it. We’re al­ready well served in the com­mu­nity.”

Ms Aik­man also started a pe­ti­tion against the ap­pli­ca­tion, which at­tracted around 250 sig­na­tures from par­ents and lo­cal res­i­dents.

“It’s ab­so­lutely not some­thing we want.”

Mt Roskill In­ter­me­di­ate prin­ci­pal Mike O’Reilly also says an­other liquor store is un­wel­come.

He says the school spent around $100,000 last year clean­ing up van­dal­ism.

“It’s be­yond a joke.”

Mr O’Reilly says when­ever there is a se­ri­ous in­ci­dent, crates of bot­tles are found nearby, link­ing al­co­hol and van­dal­ism.

Waikowhai In­ter­me­di­ate School prin­ci­pal Howard Perry and the board of trustees wrote to op­pose the li­cence.

“How many liquor out­lets does a sub­ur­ban com­mu­nity need?” he says.

The school has mea­sures in place to pre­vent van­dal­ism, but has suf­fered in the past from al­co­hol-re­lated dam­age.

Waikowhai Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Fin­tan Kelly says all the schools in the area will be af­fected by more ac­ces­si­ble al­co­hol.

“The big prob­lem is peo­ple drink­ing af­ter hours and where will they go to drink? Places like parks and schools.”

Auck­land City Coun­cil liquor li­cens­ing and street trad­ing team leader Sarah Noble says the ap­pli­ca­tion has been as­sessed by an in­spec­tor and will be sent to the liquor li­cens­ing au­thor­ity in Welling­ton.

“We’re re­ally grate­ful for peo­ple ob­ject­ing be­cause if it wasn’t for them it would have been granted im­me­di­ately by the district li­cens­ing au­thor­ity.”

The Welling­ton au­thor­ity will make a de­ci­sion on whether the ap­pli­ca­tion is granted, de­nied or ap­proved with con­di­tions.

Ms Noble says the time it takes to come back with a rul­ing de­pends on how soon the ap­pli­ca­tion can be set down for a hear­ing, which may take a cou­ple of months.

Photo: JANIE SMITH

Not wanted: Hay Park School prin­ci­pal Mar­garet Aik­man with the pe­ti­tion against a liquor store be­ing set up in th­ese shops.

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