Lobby group oppose new bottle store in Timaru
Police and community health says yes, but lobby group says no to a new bottle store in Timaru.
Alcohol Action South Canterbury has raised concerns about a new Henry's Beer, Wine, and Spirits bottle store at the Northtown Mall, next to Pak 'n Save in Waimataitai, saying it would turn the area into an "alcohol hub" and increase crime in the area.
Jacqui Robinson, a spokeswoman for the group, said it opposed the new application and had several concerns about the prospect of another bottle shop in the area.
"It's going to be turned into an alcohol hub."
READ MORE: Pak 'n Save building development progresses
"I see a heck of a lot of alcohol going out ... Why would we need another one?"
People can buy beer and wine from the Pak 'n Save supermarket, and they can also buy alcohol across the road from another liquor outlet, which provided a full range of beer, wine and spirits, she said.
She questioned whether the community that lived in the area understood a licence application had been lodged.
"Do the community know?"
She said the process was about local communities having more say about bottle stores in the community.
"This has the potential to slide under the radar."
Some people did not always read the newspaper and not everyone had time to jump on the council website.
There's evidence that minor crime such as graffiti and burglaries increase with greater density of liquor outlets, she said.
Particularly in an area where the supermarket was located, which she believed to be a lower socioeconomic one.
The Henry's bottle store chain was owned by Foodstuffs New Zealand, which also own the Pak 'n Save and the Northtown Mall.
The application was notified on November 5, and again on November 12 in the newspaper.
The objection period, where people send a submission about the license application, closed on Monday, November 28.
Foodstuffs South Island's property and retail development general manager Roger Davidson said it was going through the normal liquor license process with the Timaru District Council, and had not yet received any feedback about the licence application.
"Until we do so, I can't provide any comment further comment."
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act includes a provision for the medical officer of health, police and the district licensing committee inspector to review and report within 15 days on applications for liquor licenses.
Alcohol harm reduction officer Sergeant Mylen Hamilton said police considered the suitability of the all liquor license applications.
The police were not opposing the application, Hamilton said.
South Canterbury medical officer of Health, community and public health Dr Daniel Williams said he did not oppose the liquor license application either.
"Our team has reviewed the application for an off licence for a new Henry's at Northtown Mall against the criteria in the act, and I do not oppose the licence application."
It would not comment further as the application for the new licence had not been heard by a district licensing committee.
Robinson said it would only support the liquor licence if the Foodstuffs made the decision to take alcohol out of the Pak 'n Save, and only sold alcohol in the bottle shop.
More engagement with the community by liquor licence applicants should be done, Robinson said.
"They should let people know that its coming."
The problem was linked to a wider issue, caused by the government after they decided not to make any "hard decisions" on alcohol reform, and put that burden on the community instead, she said.
Big battles are not fought by the community, and they should not need to understand the science behind alcohol-related harm, she said.