Cabarita residents fear the new Woolworths supermarket complex currently being built could become the next liquor outlet for the seaside village grappling with a problem of alcohol-related crime, especially among youth.
The giant retailer is believed to be negotiating to buy an existing liquor licence from one of the four licensed outlets in the town and, failing that, applying for a new one to coincide with its supermarket’s expected opening around June next year.
At the time of going to press, the move could not be confirmed with the company, known for consolidating its retail supermarkets with a licensed bottleshop/outlet.
The new supermarket on the Coast Road is almost directly opposite The Beach resort building with its bar and bottle shop and the IGA supermarket, which is licensed for retail sales.
The Cabarita Sports Club is the other licensed outlet in the village, but there’s also a holiday motel upgrading its facilities to include a licensed restaurant.
Residents within 100 metres of the supermarket have been notified by mail and asked for their response to the licence application.
Cabarita Beach/Bogangar Residents’ Association secretary Suzi Bourke said her organisation was not notified, but learnt of the bid by Woolworths for a store.
Ms Bourke said residents were concerned a new liquor outlet could add to the growing alcohol-related crime and antisocial behaviour in a town with a large proportion of young people.
‘Just look at the stats (statistics) for alcohol-related crime in the Bogangar/Cabarita, Kingscliff and Murwillumbah areas; they’re shocking. Drink-driving offences are some of the highest in the state,’ she told Echonetdaily.
‘A fifth liquor shop in a town of around 3,300 will add to that; then there’s the competitiveness where lots of outlets sell, then retailers become slack about who they’re selling alcohol to – and there’s plenty of underage drinkers in the town.
‘We have a problem with a lack of public transport at night and this promotes boredom in youth who hang around with alcohol to fill the time; then we have a shortage of police to deal with problems, so it all compounds the impact.’
Ms Bourke said the deadline for public submissions to the liquor application is September 24.