Randwick City Council has announced a snap ban on alcohol at Sydney’s Coogee Beach and surrounding parks in response to what it described as “disgraceful” events on Christmas Day.
Thousands of drunken revellers packed the popular eastern suburbs beach on Sunday afternoon, leaving a trail of destruction and the council with 15 tonnes of rubbish to clean up.
Before and after backpacker Christmas on Coogee beach. pic.twitter.com/IKxmhpell4
— Brianna Parkins (@parkinsbrea) December 25, 2016
The ban will start on Thursday and last until the end of summer. Previously, alcohol was permitted in the area between 12m and 4pm.Randwick Mayor Noel D’Souza said the council had been left with “no other choice”, adding the ban has local support.
“The public outrage to the devastation of the parks and beach itself on Christmas Day has been quite phenomenal,” he said.
“It was a clear message, the public said ‘we want our parks back, we want to enjoy them in a peaceful and secure way’ and that’s why council has this ban.
“It is disappointing we have to take such a strong stance, but we need to reassure the community that they can feel safe when visiting and enjoying the jewel in the crown of Randwick City, Coogee Beach.”
‘I’ve never seen anything like it’
Mayor D’Souza said the ban would apply to Goldstein and Dunningham reserves and other parks around the beach.
A similar ban was trialled on Australia Day last year and it “worked particularly well” he said.
The current ban will affect people planning to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks display at the beach on Saturday night.
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) December 27, 2016
Beach was ‘completely trashed’
One woman who was at the beach on Christmas Day, but did not want to be named, said the area had been “trashed”.
— Georgie Gardner (@GeorgieG) December 27, 2016
“On the grass it was completely trashed. There were heaps of bottles around and people had even left picnic blankets and stuff and towels and cups,” she said.
“People were trying to pile on to the busses and the drivers couldn’t get the doors to closed so the police had to pull people off by their back packs.”
Many who took to social media to complain said backpackers who were staying at Coogee hostels were to blame for the mess.
Backpacker hostel welcomes ban
Despite hostels’ reliance on the backpacker trade, one manager was supportive of the ban over summer.
“I half, half agree on [the ban] because for the backpackers, it’s going to be hard to control them with the drinking,” said Pam from Coogee Beach House.
“I think it’s good for the community… if you don’t allow any alcohol in that area I think more family and children are gong to come back.”
However, Pam said she would like the ban to remain in place only until the end of summer so it did not hurt business too much.