Thirsty Liquor lease ended

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

A con­tentious liquor store lo­cated near a school in Wai­tan­girua will close next month, but its ad­ver­tis­ing has again raised the ire of the com­mu­nity.

Thirsty Liquor and food­mar­ket owner Chi­man Pa­tel con­firmed to Kapi-Mana News last week that his land­lord had not re­newed the lease of the Fan­tame Street stores. Both will close in the last week of April.

‘‘It’s very sad, I have been there nine years. It is just bad luck.’’

Mr Pa­tel does not be­lieve neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity sur­round­ing the busi­ness’ hours of op­er­a­tion and ag­gres­sive ad­ver­tis­ing led to the land­lord’s de­ci­sion.

The store was the sub­ject of a Liquor Li­cens­ing Author­ity hear­ing in late 2011, when it was re­vealed he was run­ning the food and al­co­hol as one busi­ness. Over 100 peo­ple marched to the Porirua District Court prior to the hear­ing, call­ing for the liquor store to be closed, and a dozen made sub­mis­sions against its liquor li­cence be­ing re­newed.

Mr Pa­tel agreed to cut the op­er­at­ing hours so it would not be open when Rus­sell School chil­dren were ar­riv­ing and leav­ing for the day.

Rus­sell School board of trustees chair­man Matt Craw­shaw said while they re­gret­ted that liveli­hoods could be af­fected by the shops’ clo­sure, it was an in­ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tion for a liquor store.

‘‘We’ve no­ticed a huge [pos­i­tive] dif­fer­ence in the neigh­bour­hood since the hours were re­duced. This was al­ways about com­mu­nity safety and the ef­fects that al­co­hol has on this area.’’

Mr Craw­shaw has con­tacted the District Li­cens­ing Author­ity, how­ever, about the stock-clear­ing sale Mr Pa­tel is hold­ing. He said the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in ad­ver­tis­ing, in­clud­ing the use of a ‘ spe­cials’ white­board, demon­strated there was not really a change in busi­ness prac­tice.

‘‘They said and did the right things while the eyes of the LLA were on them, [ but] the old ways have re­turned. The en­tice­ment that prices [are] ‘be­low cost’ is un­ac­cept­able, es­pe­cially op­po­site a school.

‘‘I would not ex­pect he is do­ing any­thing il­le­gal but I would want some­one to have a con­ver­sa­tion with him about what is hap­pen­ing. At the very least it’s en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to buy in ex­cess.’’

Mr Pa­tel said most of the stock was not be­low cost and he had no plans to take the sig­nage down.

He has plans to open a liquor store in the Porirua city cen­tre.

Lit­er­acy leap: Bran­don stu­dents like Sheila Wright and Sina Taula, both 12, have leapt years ahead in their read­ing skills thanks to the ded­i­ca­tion of teach­ers, school staff and par­ents.

Photo: SUP­PLIED.

New sig­nage: A white­board ad­ver­tis­ing clos­ing down spe­cials at Thirsty Liquor in Can­nons Creek has been branded un­ac­cept­able by some quar­ters of the com­mu­nity.

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