School ready to fight liquor store opening

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 08:45 12/04/2013
Russell School principal Sose Annandale
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

OPPOSED: Russell School principal Sose Annandale doesn't want another liquor store near her school.

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A Porirua school is readying itself to do battle again as a new liquor store prepares to open across the road.

Thirsty Liquor, opposite Russell School in Waitangirua, will be closing at the end of April when the lease for its Fantame St store ends.

However, the landlords have lodged an application to open an off-licence in the same building.

The Russell School community fought against Thirsty Liquor last year, leading to the Liquor Licensing Authority making a rare decision for the store to shut for 30 minutes every day while school children head home.

The store's licence application attracted 88 opposing submissions and the authority said the store's management was "inadequate".

Russell School principal Sose Annandale said it was frustrating to be faced with the same battle all over again.

"It was less than a year ago that we dealt with this. It's really demoralising, and now we have to rally the community again to fight a fight we have already won."

The school had seen issues with bottles littering the grounds, and parents were concerned about the message it gave children to have liquor advertised so near, Ms Annandale said.

"Just the other day a pupil found a bottle of vodka in the grounds with the lid off and alcohol still in the bottle. Luckily he brought it in, but imagine if he had had a slug of it, or if another child did."

The landlord of Thirsty Liquor and applicant for the new store, Bhanumati Patel, said she had extensive experience in running liquor stores and did not want to attract the same problems.

"I'm a responsible person and I know what I'm doing. I'm not going to go crazy like Thirsty has been, trying to be open until midnight or anything."

They had lodged an application to have trading hours of 9am until 9pm from Sunday till Thursday, and until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

"I have got a family. I don't want to go working around the clock or causing issues," Ms Patel said.

Ms Annandale said ideally there would be no liquor store across the road.

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- The Dominion Post

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