Residents ‘say when’
Liquor store decision due
Their objections were finally heard last week – now they wait.
The hearing for the renewal of the liquor licence for the Thirsty Liquor bottle store in Fantame St had its long- awaited readjournment on Wednesday. And unlike on November 30 last year – when the Liquor Licensing Authority suspended proceedings due to irregularities in owner Chiman Patel’s business structure – the residents and Russell School staff got to have their say.
Mr Patel concluding giving evidence, confirming the liquor store and foodmarket were now operating as two separate businesses. He has downgraded his advertising around his premises and the liquor store is closed from 2.55pm to 3.10pm on school days.
In response to a question from Judge John Hole about his closing times, Mr Patel said, ‘‘If the authority is going to reduce our hours, I ask that they reduce the hours of other liquor stores as well.’’
Police oppose the application for a new liquor licence and Regional Public Health has called for the store’s hours to be cut and many residents do not want a bottle store opposite the school.
Russell School board chairman Matt Crawshaw spoke of his alcoholic neighbour ‘‘and her two nearly alcoholic daughters and the numerous times we’ve watched days fuelled by boxes of Cody’s [bourbon and cola] ending up with all the windows in the house being smashed’’.
Mr Crawshaw said there was something ‘‘critically wrong’’ with a system that enables a licence to be obtained or renewed for a bottle store directly opposite a school.
Sose Annandale said she regularly feared for the safety of staff and students from drunks and there was frequent vandalism.
Earlier in the hearing, a police analyst provided data showing the number of public disorder calls to police in a 500-metre radius of Thirsty Liquor in the past five years. The instances were much higher than in a comparative 500-metre radius a few streets away.
Judge Hole, who praised the residents for their efforts, reserved his decision. Mr Crawshaw was hopeful it would be made in the next few weeks.
Strong message: Like in November, dozens of Porirua East residents marched from the canopies to the liquor hearing last Wednesday adamant a liquor store in their neighbourhood was not wanted.