UPDATE: At the Council meeting last night Crs Candy Bingham and Sarah Grattan put a four-point motion to Northern Beaches Council. As well as the call for council to monitor the area with night rangers or the deployment of off-duty police, the motion called for a review of the current Alcohol Prohibited Area times with alcohol banned at 8.00pm instead of 4pm, to give locals and visitors a reasonable picnicing window. . The reinstatement of the former Manly Safety Committee which brings together community representatives, councillors, police and other relevant agencies, will reconvene shorty as the Northern Beaches Safety Advisory Committee and will be asked to continue to monitor the situation.
Although Council staff indicated that the budget was available to immediately start the deployment of off-duty police (at a cost of $55,000 vs $14,000 for night rangers) the motion was lost with a deferral to the next meeting moved by Crs Pat Daley & Cr Stuart Sprott who are pushing for a 24 hour prohibited zone.
The matter is now on hold until the next meeting of Council on 27 March 2018.
BACKGROUND:Manly’s beautiful East Esplanade reserve is a crowd favourite for a few drinks as the sun is going down. But ‘the office’ is also popular for parties and drinking late into the night. And that leads to problems including aggressive behaviour, urination in public including in locals’ front yards, and piles of rubbish. The reserve is currently designated alcohol free after 4pm but clearly the ban is not working.
A Manly Community Forum residents’ meeting last week, attended by Northern Beaches Police Commander Superintendent Dave Darcy, and Manly Ward Councillors Candy Bingham, Sarah Grattan and Pat Daley, brought the issue to a head. Many locals said they hated the late-night parties and wanted to know why the alcohol bans were not been enforced by the Police or council rangers.
Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said while the situation was unacceptable, police resources were limited and they should not be criticised for putting the most serious incidents first. She said the Council should re-introduce night and weekend rangers to patrol the park and deal with low-level complaints.
“Manly Council used to have night rangers, but the service was lost with the amalgamation into Northern Beaches Council” she said. “We need to bring the council rangers back to take responsibility early in the evening, then the police would come in only if they were really required.”
Cr Pat Daley called for a complete 24-hour drinking ban, but an informal vote at the resident meeting clearly favoured limited restrictions only.
Supt Darcy said order maintenance in East Esplanade was “a team game”. He supported the return of night and weekend rangers, and the reinstatement of the Manly Safety Committee. He told the meeting that people should call triple 0 if they see someone acting aggressively, or urinating on private property. For other issues, including loud music or late parties, they should call Manly Police Station.
“Seventy percent of alcohol-fuelled violence in the whole Northern Beaches happens in The Corso,” Supt Darcy said. “We’ve had a huge improvement in that area over the years, but it needs tight policing, and that’s where my priority lies.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.