Cannons Creek liquor bid provokes hostile reaction
Opponents of a plan to re-open a Cannons Creek liquor shop have told of the harm alcohol has caused in the area.
Plans for a bottle store across the road from Russell School in Fantame St – on the same site as a previous outlet – have unleashed a fresh wave of anger.
About 100 protesters marched from Cobham Ct to Porirua District Court last Monday, before a Liquor Licensing Authority hearing.
When the bottle shop was last open, empty cans were strewn about, vandalism was common, and children could not play barefoot because of the danger of broken glass, Russell School board of trustees chairman Matt Crawshaw told the hearing.
‘‘It has been an absolute injustice for our children to grow up with this liquor store across the road from their school,’’ he said.
Last year, his family’s pet chicken was killed by people who were drunk and hungry – ‘‘ an example of the damage and harm we endured’’ before Thirsty Liquor closed at the end of April when its lease was terminated.
The store was described as badly run last year in a Liquor Licensing Authority ruling which slashed its opening hours.
After terminating the lease, the landlords applied to open a new off-licence.
Bhanumati Patel said the new store would be run responsibly. Its proposed hours would avoid contact with schoolchildren, with a break from 2.45pm till 3.15pm, Monday to Friday.
The store could not be blamed for alcohol abuse, she said.
‘‘ The other day I saw two teenage girls drinking in a bus shelter. Where did they get that alcohol? The Fantame St store is not open.’’
A bottle shop had been at the site since 1998, with a break of three months, Mrs Patel added.
Mr Crawshaw said the impact of the previous store’s closure was ‘‘beyond expectations’’.
‘‘My wife and I have no recollection of being woken even once by drunken or disorderly behaviour.’’
Russell School principal Sose Annandale had concerns about the safety of students and staff.
Abuse and graffiti were common, and they often found bottles with alcohol still in them.
‘‘This continued until April this year.’’
Porirua police alcohol harm reduction officer Senior Sergeant Steve Sargent said that since the previous store was closed, crime had dropped by 31 per cent in the Fantame St area.
A decision on the liquor licence is expected in a few weeks.
No to booze: Russell School pupils joined 100 adults protesting about a Fantame St liquor licence application last Monday. From left, Ezra Crawshaw, 6, Erica Higgs, 7, and Ruana Crawshaw, 10.