Community fights new bottle shop
Angry residents are lobbying to stop a bottle store opening in a prominent Mt Albert location, just 100m from another alcohol outlet.
They are opposed to any new bottle stores in the area and protested at the New North Rd site on the same day the Emkay Trading Company's application to open the Kiwi Drive Liquor outlet was publicly notified.
About 30 people turned up for the protest last week.
Emkay Trading applied for a liquor licence to run a bottle shop in the former garage on the corner of Asquith Ave and New North Rd between 7am and midnight.
The site is currently occupied by a coffee shop.
Residents, church members and representatives of the Albert-Eden Local Board and Auckland Council turned out to send a simple message - no more liquor outlets.
They planned to repeat their effort in greater numbers last night and will gather again tomorrow night. A petition is also circulating.
The group said there were ample opportunities for people to buy alcohol in Mt Albert and it would rather see diverse, high quality and productive businesses.
Resident Francis Mortimer has led the charge and said support was growing.
''Residents are not about to let another liquor store open in our neighbourhood,'' he said.
''This will not be an asset to the Mt Albert shops nor the Mt Albert village, especially as the local board is working on improvements to the area.''
People against proposed new outlets are limited in what they can do under exisiting legisation.
The Sale of Liquor Act limits objections to areas like the suitability of applicants and the hours of trading. People opposing on the grounds of proliferation have to demonstrate to a very high standard how an additional outlet will cause harm to the community.
The Alcohol Reform Bill was passed last week and will allow councils to develop alcohol policies that may address matters including location, density and maximum trading hours of off-licences.
The council will be working on an alcohol policy over the next year and will consult with the community.
Auckland councillor Cathy Casey was among those protesting and hopes the applicant will pull out.
''The Government has just passed legislation that will give us some teeth but not for another year,'' Casey said.
''The only thing that can stop this is community action.
''It's nothing personal, we just don't want it here,'' she said.
A spokesman for Emkay Trading Company could not be reached for comment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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