Booze out­let capped

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

A COM­MU­NITY is over­joyed by a de­ci­sion to pre­vent a booze mer­chant set­ting up a new out­let in its neigh­bour­hood.

On June 20 the Liquor Li­cens­ing Au­thor­ity heard ar­gu­ments from those on both sides about the es­tab­lish­ment of a bot­tle store in Mt Al­bert. The ap­pli­ca­tion was re­fused.

Last De­cem­ber Emkay Trad­ing ap­plied for a li­cence to es­tab­lish an off-li­cence to be called Kiwi Drive Liquor at the cor­ner of New North Rd and Asquith Ave spark­ing a mas­sive com­mu­nity re­sponse op­pos­ing the plan, Cen­tral Leader, De­cem­ber 20.

A hear­ing was held last month in which some of the 700 who ei­ther sub­mit­ted or signed a pe­ti­tion against the pro­posed shop had their say.

The hopes of the com­mu­nity have been sur­passed by the de­ci­sion.

Be­fore the hear­ing op­po­nent Fran­cis Mortimer said they had been hope­ful of a re­duc­tion of the pro­posed trad­ing hours of 7am to midnight.

‘‘We won,’’ he says. ‘‘The de­ci­sion is some­what un­prece­dented as nor­mally th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions are ap­proved with restric­tive con­di­tions.’’

An­other op­po­nent Sir Harold Mar­shall rep­re­sented the Methodist Church and says the de­ci­sion has been met with ‘‘gen­eral de­light’’.

‘‘It’s what we hoped for, we hoped in the new city com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions could have an ac­tive role in en­sur­ing their place re­mains their place and they have a de­gree of con­trol in what hap­pens.’’

The 11-page de­ci­sion was made avail­able to par­ties on Mon­day and the Cen­tral Leader has seen parts of it.

In it the Liquor Li­cens­ing Au­thor­ity says it reached the con­clu­sion the ap­pli­cant was ‘‘not suit­able to hold an of­fli­cence’’.

It cited ev­i­dence from sub­mit­ters in which they demon­strated the ap­pli­cant had breached li­cence con­di­tions at an­other Mt Al­bert out­let, Kiwi Liquor, by sell­ing out­side of the hours of trade.

‘‘The ap­pli­cant must have ap­pre­ci­ated from a pe­rusal of the let­ters of ob­jec­tion that the way in which he has re­cently been op­er­at­ing Kiwi Liquor was of con­cern to most of the ob­jec­tors,’’ the de­ci­sion states.

‘‘He can­not have been sur­prised at the ev­i­dence that came out in the hear­ing. He made no at­tempt in his ev­i­dence to jus­tify his re­cent con­duct of Kiwi Liquor ...’’

Be­cause the obli­ga­tion to prove one’s suit­abil­ity rests with an ap­pli­cant he would have been re­quired to demon­strate this in the face of such al­le­ga­tions and ‘‘this did not hap­pen’’.

The de­ci­sion also cited the pres­ence of a poorly lit car park be­hind the site which could be used by peo­ple wish­ing to pre-load, the close­ness of Fern­dale Park, the pres­ence of board­ing houses ‘‘con­tain­ing vul­ner­a­ble young men’’ and a nearby Al­co­holics Anony­mous premises.

Al­co­hol Health­watch spokes­woman Rebecca Wil­liams says the de­ci­sion is a good one for com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘As of June 19 the new cri­te­ria for liquor ob­jec­tions came into force so the Liquor Li­cens­ing Au­thor­ity can now take into ac­count com­mu­nity con­cern.’’

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