NOAH'S Ark has been found! There is a huge red building smack in your face at the bottom of St John's Hill and gateway to our city on Victoria Ave. Okay, it's a huge liquor barn. The area is rated in the top 1.5 per cent of crime-related areas in New Zealand.
The district council alcohol licensing inspector's own report said he opposed the application and that there were already about 10 outlets and liquor stores within a 1km radius!
Dr Nicki Jackson, executive director of Alcohol Healthwatch, said: "The addition of another licensed premises in the area locally would increase alcohol-related harm" (Chronicle P3, April 29).
The mayor's counter-argument (he is one of three on the committee) must be damned good, then. Granted, the future policy does limit such stores, but how did this one, with those factors of record, get through?
One of Whanganui's known intergenerational underbelly topics is the impact of alcohol in family abuse, crime and mental health challenges on people of all socio-economic levels.
I raised this with council and press two weeks ago due to rumours. I even raised it on a well-known Facebook community page and over 98 per cent were not happy. Do I believe that committee got this very wrong? Yes, I do.
I have a duty manager's licence re service of alcohol, I know my responsibilities, and — socially — I have the rare drink. I say to the entire "team" of councillors, shame on you if you do not raise this at the table and record your views one by one on this decision. Yes, you can do that on record after the fact.
If councillor Josh can get on pages 1 and 3 on budgie bans and panicked pensioners, is not the topic of alcohol equally worthy of just one councillor raising some concern but, more appropriately, in the council chamber? Just one?
It's a load of Bull, and all that goes with this at both ends of a very large bull will be added to a major gateway point of our town.
It stinks, Whanganui.
Bird ban seems petty
Liz Wylie's story in the April 27 Chronicle about Henry the budgie, and the Whanganui council certainly highlights their pet(ty) policy.
It seems incredible that someone would complain about a budgie — can't imagine it being any noisier than the average wild bird flying around outside or sitting on a fence or wire. We've all heard tui and mynas squawking, and that's part of everyday life.
Okay, maybe if a council tenant had a massive parrot, that might not be acceptable, but a small bird in a cage? And then to threaten them with eviction if they do not comply — how petty.
What if I were a slightly eccentric tenant and decided to put a frozen chook (which I named Fred) in a cage and called it my pet, would I be treated in the same way?
Perhaps not — probably end up in the funny farm, which would be more appropriate if the chook was alive.
I firmly believe all tenants should be able to keep a small to medium size bird without council threatening to make them homeless.
Pets are therapeutic
The therapeutic value of pets for elderly, disabled, ill or lonely people is widely recognised. But not, it seems, by the Whanganui District Council.
I can understand a pet policy prohibiting cats and especially dogs. Dogs bark, crap everywhere, dig holes and scratch at things. Their loyalty to their owners can sometimes become aggressive. Cats scratch things and may dig holes in people's gardens but, on the whole, are less offensive than dogs.
Small cage birds are no trouble at all. They don't make much noise. In the suburban environment of most council flats a very vocal budgie would hardly rise above the ambient daytime noise level. And they sleep at night. Feed and water them, clean the cage regularly and you have a very inoffensive pet. I wonder — are goldfish banned too?
The council's policy is petty, callous and obviously not attuned to the wellbeing of its tenants. Something for Whanganui District electors to ponder.
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