At the next Randwick Council meeting Liberal Councillors will try to overturn a 24 hour alcohol ban that would bring Coogee Beach into line with a similar ban at nearby Bondi.
“The situation was managed quite effectively” (Randwick Liberal Mayor Scott Nash on 2UE, 12 February)
“The police had to call in the riot squad” (Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson, 11 February)
The two quotes above were made about ham strung police efforts to control an intoxicated crowd at Coogee Beach in January.
Councillor Matson says that the two differing statements can only be reconciled if use of a riot squad at a popular Sydney beach is accepted as an effective alcohol management strategy – and he does not. He said,
“There are no restrictions banning alcohol consumption on Goldstein Reserve during daylight hours. As a result groups of drinkers can start congregating there from about 11am on. They know they can’t do it at Bondi.
A few weeks ago the police realized on one day that the situation was getting out of hand but could not do anything until dusk. Things had deteriorated so badly by then that they had to call in the riot squad. That would have been unnecessary if they had been free to act hours before.
How can the Mayor of Randwick propose that Council should depend on the use of riot squads to control crowds of drunks as an effective alcohol management strategy?What happens the next time revelers are allowed to reach the riot level at Coogee Beach before 6pm?”
Fellow Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey disputed claims made on 2UE by Liberal Councillors that there was no community call for the 24 hour ban. She was told at a local community meeting that residents were intimidated away from the beach reserve after a certain time of the day because of the presence of drunken revelers.
“I attended the February meeting of the Coogee Precinct meeting and it was made clear to me that they were sick of families being forced to abandon the beach reserve because of the obnoxious behavior of drunks. I have seen photographs showing the reserve being taken over by drunks. As a Councillor I promised the meeting that I would respond by raising the matter at Council.”