Media Statement on the 2017 Taste of Coogee festival by Randwick Council Greens Councillor Murray Matson
Randwick East Ward Liberal Councillor Brendan Roberts has dramatically intervened into Randwick Council’s established event management process to force through approval for this year’s Taste Of Coogee festival with very little controls put into place. East Ward Labor Councillor Tony Bowen voted to support this extraordinary abandonment of appropriate approval processes.
The problem is that Council officers had not received the required event management application from the organisers by the time Cr Robert’s motion was voted on at last Tuesday night’s Council meeting. There were thus no recommended conditions of approval from Council event staff for Councillors to attach to the approval.
A rescission motion has been lodged to have this reckless resolution re-debated on the 8th of August on behalf of residents.
The effective result (if the decision is not overturned by Councillor Matson’s rescission motion) is that elected Councillors have given permission for a large promotional event to use community land to promote commercial interests with no safeguards attached for residents.
It is akin to Councillors having some sort of brain freeze and voting approval for a development application with no conditions attached – and then finding a 20 storey building going up with no legal grounds left to stop it.
The 2017 Taste of Coogee festival will now proceed with no Randwick Council control over:
- The use of amplified electronic sound that might impact on residents living around Coogee Oval along with general noise issues;
- what products will be promoted at the event;
- what if any restrictions will be over alcohol consumption;
- whether alcohol or cigarette products will be advertised;
- how many attendees will actually have to be catered for;
- how many toilets will be provided for;
- whether access for the disabled is catered for;
- what crowd control or security measures are in place;
- what insurance cover will be taken out by the organisers;
- whether Council itself will be indemnified from liability for accidents;
- whether a traffic management plan will be submitted for police approval;
- when the organisers will commence setting up in the oval and when they will remove equipment from it; or even
- actually how many days the organisers will have control of the Oval for.
Last Christmases’ out of control mass drinking session at Coogee Beach should have been at the forefront of their thinking. Council was legitimately caught unawares of the chaos of that day because the proponents had not told Council that they were doing it. They just announced it via facebook and invited everyone in.
But that situation doesn’t apply to this Taste Of Coogee event as it can’t be said this time Randwick Councillors were not warned.
The General Manager specifically advised Councillors during last Tuesday night’s debate that no event management application on what was proposed and how it was to be managed had been submitted to Council. But every Councillor present bar my self and Councillors Lindsay Shurey and Kathy Neilson then went and ignored him by voting to let this now uncontrollable event go ahead.
We three dissenting Councillors have now lodged a rescission motion to force this gob smacking and irresponsible decision to be re-debated. It will go to an extraordinary meeting on the 8th of August.
I learnt today that the Dan Murphy bottle shop application for the old Rugby Club site has been approved by a court decision. This and the blind support for the Taste Of Coogee hospitality promotion only reinforces public perception that Coogee remains the alcohol precinct of the eastern suburbs.