Rowandale Liquor manager Gurmal Singh said he was unaware of the Auckland Council’s signage regulation.
By Stephen Forbes, journalist for local democracy
Trevor Wilson calls on the Auckland Council to take action against the South Auckland bottle shops that continually flout its policy with signs advertising alcoholic beverages in the community.
Wilson is a member of Auckland’s alcohol advocacy group, Communities Against Alcohol Harm (CAAH).
The Auckland Council Signage Regulation 2015 controls the signs that may be displayed in stores and other businesses. This limits their number, size, coverage and location, including window panels and sandwich panels.
And while there are different rules for signs in city centers and industrial areas, no distinction is made for bottle shops and liquor outlets – which Wilson and the CAAH want to see changed. .
Last week, Wilson filed a complaint with the Auckland Council about Rowandale Liquor in Manurewa. He said the store’s signs were excessive and violated regulations.
Wilson said he has contacted the council on numerous occasions regarding South Auckland bottle shops in flagrant violation of the rules.
Rowandale Liquor manager Gurmal Singh and an inspector from the council came and asked him to remove the store’s roof panel on Tuesday.
He said he had no problem complying with council bylaws, but was not even aware of the signage bylaw.
“Why are they going after us? There is alcohol advertising everywhere these days,” Singh said. “I think they think we’re an easy target.”
He said the sign had been in place for over nine years and he didn’t know what removing it from the store’s roof would accomplish.
“Like I told the guy from advice, what’s going to change? This store has been around for 22 years and we have a lot of loyal customers.”
But Auckland Manukau neighborhood councilor Efeso Collins shares Wilson’s concerns and says he is dismayed at how South Auckland liquor stores continue to push the boundaries with their signs.
He said many liquor chains have also adopted bright colors to paint their stores, which is outside the scope of the council regulations.
“The kids and youth in my ward are on display at these bottle shops on the way to school, at local stores, and at sports,” Collins said. “They are everywhere and constantly on our faces. For my community, these stores represent hopelessness and despair.”
The council’s regulatory committee voted last year for a new regulation more in line with Auckland’s unitary plan and to take more enforcement action against companies flouting the regulations.
But Collins said the council was limited in what it could do to address the current issue and legislation was needed to address the situation.
Alcohol Healthwatch conducted its own study of bottle shops in the Ōtara-Papatoetoe region in 2019.
The health ministry-funded organization found that 97% of bottle shops in the Ōtara-Papatoetoe region were in violation of the regulations.
“We know that alcohol signaling is quite harmful and that there is a causal link between alcohol marketing and alcohol use by young people,” said health promotion advisor Nathan. Cowie.
“And for those who already drink it, it has a causal effect by making them drink more.
“We have advocated for better signage regulations that provide communities with greater protection against the marketing of alcohol.
He said it was important that companies that flout the regulations be held to account. But Cowie said that to date there hasn’t been a lot of law enforcement.
Auckland council team leader Dirk Timp confirmed he had received a complaint about Manurewa’s Rowandale liquor. He said a compliance officer is currently evaluating the evidence to see if it violates the signage regulations.
“If the signs are not compliant, staff will talk to the store owner and try to work with him to ensure he changes them to fit the regulations.”
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This notice was published: 2021-05-14 00:29:35