The possibility of another liquor store in Brookfield has spurred the community into action, with a local school filing a petition to oppose it.
An application has been made to Tauranga City Council’s environmental health and licensing team for a Super Liquor store in Ridge Plaza, at 2 Jude Place.
There are already three shops that sell alcohol within 300 metres of Brookfield School, and Principal Ngaere Durie says another one is unnecessary.
She is worried about the impact it will have on students and the community - especially with high numbers of elderly people living in the area.
“We’re concerned around the social problems that come with it,” says Ngaere.
“Whether it’s from alcohol-related harm, alcohol consumption, violence or other crime, driving and any motor vehicle accidents and especially binge drinking.”
There are also three early childhood centres in close proximity to the proposed shop.
The proposed store hours are from 9am to 10pm, seven days a week.
The store will be open for the entire school day, and Ngaere is worried about children walking home when they’ve finished after-school care.
“We could be exposed to some highly intoxicated people during the school day,” she says. “I'm not keen on that at all, because it becomes a security issue.”
There are further concerns around students seeing advertising for alcohol and vaping, as well as the risk of them encountering intoxicated people.
“Children are naturally inquisitive, and I would rather they ask questions about positive things rather than alcohol ads or people that they might see drinking,” says Ngaere.
The proposed store is just across the road from the new site for Brookfield School, around 500m from the current school on Millers Road.
In 2019 the Ministry of Education announced a new school would be built because of the burgeoning roll, and plans have recently been finalised. A start date for the build is yet to be confirmed.
Ngaere says the community has backed the school’s stance, with lots of people coming to sign the petition and making their own submissions.
“We have a very tight community,” she says. “We support each other.”
As part of the process, applications are publically notified and people have 15 days to object in writing. The notification period ended on August 4.
Tauranga City Council team leader of environmental health and licensing, Sam Kemp, says a significant number of public objections to the application have been received.
The liquor licensing team is awaiting reports from the medical officer of health, the police and the alcohol licensing inspector, he says.
Once completed, the application will go to the independent District Licensing Committee who will decide if there is a need for a public hearing and determine the outcome of the application.
“With the current number of objections received, it is likely that a public hearing will be held,” says Sam.
Ngaere says she will attend the hearing if there is one.