Bot­tle shop protest

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE DAW­SON

AN­GRY res­i­dents are lob­by­ing to stop a bot­tle store open­ing in a prom­i­nent Mt Al­bert lo­ca­tion.

They are op­posed to any new bot­tle stores in the area and protested at the New North Rd site on the same day the Emkay Trad­ing Com­pany’s ap­pli­ca­tion to open the Kiwi Drive Liquor out­let was pub­licly no­ti­fied for the first time.

Around 30 peo­ple turned up for the hastily ar­ranged protest.

Emkay Trad­ing ap­plied for a liquor li­cence to run a bot­tle shop in the former garage on the cor­ner of Asquith Ave and New North Rd, with trad­ing hours of 7am to mid­night.

The site is cur­rently oc­cu­pied by a cof­fee shop.

Res­i­dents, church mem­bers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board and Auck­land Coun­cil turned out to send a sim­ple mes­sage – no more liquor out­lets.

They planned to re­peat their ef­fort in greater num­bers last night and will gather again to­mor­row night. A pe­ti­tion is also cir­cu­lat­ing.

The group says there are al­ready am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to buy al­co­hol in Mt Al­bert and it would rather see di­verse, high qual­ity and pro­duc­tive busi­nesses in the com­mu­nity.

Res­i­dent Fran­cis Morti- mer has driven the ob­jec­tions and says sup­port is grow­ing.

‘‘Res­i­dents are not about to let an­other liquor store open in our neigh­bour­hood,’’ he says.

‘‘We al­ready have one fur­ther along New North Rd and on the other side of the rail­way bridge at Morn­ing­side, not to men­tion the su­per­mar­ket at West­field St Lukes which can sup­ply as much beer and wine as you can drink.

‘‘This will not be an as­set to the Mt Al­bert shops nor the Mt Al­bert vil­lage es­pe­cially as the lo­cal board is work­ing on im­prove­ments to the area.’’

He says the near­est store to the pro­posed Kiwi Drive Liquor is 100 me­tres away, and there is an­other one a fur­ther 100 me­tres from that.

Peo­ple against pro­posed new out­lets are lim­ited in what they can do un­der ex­isit­ing legi­sa­tion.

The Sale of Liquor Act lim­its ob­jec­tions to ar­eas like the suit­abil­ity of ap­pli­cants and the hours of trad­ing. Peo­ple op­pos­ing on the grounds of pro­lif­er­a­tion have to demon­strate to a very high stan­dard how an ad­di­tional out­let will cause harm to the com­mu­nity.

The Al­co­hol Re­form Bill was passed last week and will al­low coun­cils to de­velop al­co­hol poli­cies that may ad­dress mat­ters in­clud­ing lo­ca­tion, den­sity and maxi- mum trad­ing hours of li­cences.

The coun­cil will be work­ing on an al­co­hol pol­icy over the next year and will con­sult with the com­mu­nity.

Auck­land coun­cil­lor Cathy Casey was among those protest­ing and hopes the ap­pli­cant will pull out.

‘‘The Government has just passed leg­is­la­tion that will give us some teeth but not for an­other year,’’ Ms Casey says.

‘‘The only thing that can stop this is com­mu­nity ac­tion.

‘‘It’s noth­ing per­sonal, we just don’t want it here,’’ she says.

A spokesman for Emkay Trad­ing Com­pany could not be reached for com­ment.

off-

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

No more: Op­po­nents of the Kiwi Drive Liquor store pro­posed for the cor­ner of New North Rd and Asquith Ave show their feel­ings. Fur­ther protests are planned.

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