Parents of a childcare centre in Northland are peeved at an application to open a liquor store next to their children's pre-school with a roll of more than 100.
Auckland-based Kaushik Enterprises has applied to the Whangārei District Licensing Committee a Super Liquor branded bottle shop, located between the Jolt Cafe and Best Start in Maunu Village.
The Whangārei District Council publicly notified the application between October 7-28 and will schedule a public hearing sometime in the New Year.
WDC manager health and bylaws Reiner Mussle said the council has received 42 objections, with the majority having been assessed as having 'standing' under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, having raised appropriate matters or concerns and thus able to be heard.
Irrespective of having 'standing' or not, she said all objections would be put before the committee, including those that were made late.
Northland District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Catherine Jackson will complete a report and file it with the committee, as soon as the time allows.
Due to the high workload relating to the recent Delta outbreak, she has had to invoke the Epidemic Preparedness (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012—Licence Application Inquiries) Immediate Modification Order 2020.
According to the order, Jackson needs to inquire into new alcohol licence applications and file a report with the committee if she opposes any matters in the application by Kaushik Enterprises.
The effects of Covid mean she's unable to do that and has thus been temporarily relieved from those obligations.
The order ensures licence applications and renewals are scrutinised by Jackson but under a longer timeframe than normal to allow the committee to make a decision based on all available resources.
Dr Jackson did not specifically say whether she opposes the application.
Construction of the liquor store has already started while a hearing is being awaited.
Sartaj Sandhu's daughter goes to Best Start Maunu Village said Maunu was one of the safest areas in Whangārei. Locals wanted it to remain that way.
"There are about a dozen families who send their children to this childcare centre who were unaware about the application for a liquor shop. We only found out about it lately and promptly contacted the council.
"A liquor store by a pre-school is just not right, and it's going to impact on the amenity and the wellbeing of the area," he said.
Another parent, Harjinder Singh, sends his son to the childcare centre and another child will go there from next year.
"There are many liquor shops around Whangārei, so why next to a pre-school? There is no building on site at present but an application has been made for a licence to open a liquor shop. How's that possible?"
Singh said the application should have been publicly notified so that people like him and many others caught unawares were given an opportunity to oppose it during the notification period.
Mussle said matters raised in opposition mainly covered but were not limited to proximity to social housing and sensitive sites, amenity and good order as defined under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, outlet density, and hours of operation.
In an email to Singh, WDC general manager planning and development Dominic Kula said although the former's objection was outside of the notification period. It would be noted in the licensing inspector's report to the committee.
"Rest assured these are all matters the committee will consider at the public hearing."
Best Start deputy chief executive Fiona Hughes said the child care centre was initially told by Kaushik Enterprises the liquor shop would be located at a different place but have since learnt it would be built at a different location.
"We weren't privy to the design, contour, or the location but were given just a schematic.
We know there will be a hearing and a number of objections have been filed so we'll leave it for the objectors to state their case."
Best Start did not file a written submission.