Can­nons Creek liquor bid pro­vokes hos­tile reaction

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

Photo: KIERAN BRAY

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.

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