Not in my backyard

Bay of Plenty Times 27 Feb 2012
Bay businesses are challenged to make a buck in tough economic times and now they have a new battle on their hands – public opinion over where they can set up shop. When residents of the Tauranga suburb found out John McCoy was this week moving his Aristocrat Adult Shop from downtown Cameron Rd to suburban Chadwick Rd, some of the good people of Greerton were appalled. Gloria Dickson said it didn’t fit with Greerton’s “village atmosphere”, and Lois O’Brien even said she felt like vomiting. The problem is that Aristocrat Adult Boutique, as it will be renamed, will be 100m from the 300 impressionable five to 11-year-olds who attend Greerton Village School. The story is reminiscent of another public outcry, featured in the Bay of Plenty Times in January. On that occasion, the objectors were 108 residents and retailers outraged by the prospect of a liquor store on their Cameron Rd retail patch. Those objectors said there were already too many licensed premises nearby and having another would increase problems associated with the presence of homeless people and delinquent teenagers. The application is awaiting a hearing before the Liquor Licensing Authority. But an interesting pattern is forming. It appears the NIMBY factor – the common term for a Not In My Backyard attitude – may be thriving in suburban Tauranga. Here’s another example: in December last year, a court case was needed to decide a dispute between Domain Liquor in Papamoa and members of the public because, again, the liquor store was unwelcome in the neighbourhood. The liquor licensing authority ruled in favour of the liquor store. It’s understandable for people to want to protect what they see as the tone and ideals of their neighbourhood, but what about the rights of retailers? Is it reasonable to expect retailers to canvass their patch before moving in?…..

The chief executive officer of Tauranga’s Chamber of Commerce, Max Mason, says McCoy has a right to operate in Greerton but, as a parent, he can empathise with the concerns local residents have. “There seems to be a growing acceptance of adult products in the mainstream, but it’s the fringe elements inside and outside that industry that cause concern. “The same applies with liquor stores locating near schools.” The national director of Family First New Zealand, Bob McCoskrie says councils need to listen to the concerns of families, rather than capitulate to the demands of businesses to operate anywhere anytime. But, according to Tauranga City Council’s group manager of customer services and environmental services, Peter Frawley, location is the main consideration council gives. However, under the city plan, they do not have discretion to consider the type of retail business proposed.