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Council commits to plans to reduce alcohol focus in Edinburgh Gardens over Australia Day weekend
08 January 2014
Alcohol will be banned in much of Edinburgh Gardens over the upcoming Australia Day weekend to discourage the type of alcohol-fuelled parties that overwhelmed the Gardens on New Year's Eve.
Council also resolved at a special meeting on 7 January to promote glass free festivities over the weekend by encouraging people to use plastic containers, provide additional lighting, toilets and first aid facilities to create a more community and family friendly atmosphere in the Gardens.
Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky acknowledged the calls for an alcohol ban in the Gardens and said anti-social behaviour would be managed with allocated areas for drinking in the park.
Council officers and Victoria Police, with assistance from private security contractors, will enforce the ban on alcohol consumption in the alcohol free zones, and the total ban on alcohol after 9pm throughout the Gardens.
Council also highlighted the need for greater enforcement of bylaws requiring events with amplified music in the Gardens to have a permit. The bylaws regarding alcohol and music apply in all parks and gardens in Yarra.
"We've seen over the past couple of years, Edinburgh Gardens develop a reputation in some circles as a place where you can bring a sound system and a few eskys, invite a couple of hundred people via social media and have your own private party in the Gardens until late at night," she said.
"That kind of use unfairly impacts on other users who come to relax, use the playgrounds, walk dogs, play sport, and participate in the activities that make Edinburgh Gardens such a wonderful local park.
"In the case of New Year's Eve, those impacts stretched beyond the Gardens and impacted on the people living in the surrounding area."
Cr Fristacky said the message from Victoria Police, paramedics and people living around Edinburgh Gardens was that the size of the crowd, high use of alcohol and other substances and inadequate lighting in parts of the Gardens created an unsafe environment and led to unacceptable anti-social behaviour in the Gardens and surrounding streets.
"There were clearly far too many people for the capacity of the Gardens on New Year's Eve and that was partly due to the fact that people saw it as the place to kick on after midnight," she said.
"We don't want a repeat. Many people have expressed to Council their disappointment and anger at seeing the Gardens becoming a hot spot for that sort of party, and the resulting clean-up.
"Many of Melbourne's most popular parks apply alcohol bans. Council wants Edinburgh Gardens to return to being a public place where families and friends can meet without being confronted by the kinds of anti-social behaviour that can arise when groups of people binge drink."
Last night's resolution also called for the establishment of a working group to plan for a Council-managed event in Edinburgh gardens for New Year's Eve 2014/15.
If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Toby Walker, Acting Executive Manager, Customer Service and Communications, on 9205 5120 or Toby.Walker@yarracity.vic.gov.au
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