Update: The "no alcohol after 4pm" trail will remain in place until April, after which it will be reviewed. In the meantime, Good For Manly Councillor, Candy Bingham, has initiated a review of the toilet facility stating the current public toilet is a "scary dungeon"
Council resolved to look at options of upgrading and replacing the existing toilets.
East Esplanade Reserve – aka “The Office”. A great spot to have a drink and watch the sun go down, or a park that’s overwhelmed with too many people, too much partying and too much rubbish?
Getting the balance right is the challenge facing Manly Council as it endeavours to accommodate the needs of picnickers – both locals and visitors - and people living near by.
The council’s recent attempt at a compromise - permitting drinking but only until 4pm - has unleashed a storm.
After Good For Manly posted the news, our Facebook site had an extraordinary 21,000+ hits and over 200 comments.
The message was unanimous - 4pm is too early. People said the “Office” crowd was well-behaved and orderly, and many commented they were happy to bring their children along. They suggested sunset, or a bit later, for “last drinks”, and urged the Council to add more garbage bins and improve toilet facilities.
The decision to ban alcohol after 4pm was made by the Council’s Community Safety Committee, and is yet to be ratified by the full Council. It overturns a total ban on alcohol that has been in place at East Esplanade Reserve since 2010.
Despite the ban, the harbourfront park has become enormously popular, especially on Fridays after work and on the weekend.
Good For Manly Cr Candy Bingham said the Council clearly hadn’t got the balance right yet. “Four pm is too early,” she said. “But I think a ban on alcohol after sunset is appropriate because we don’t want people drinking on into the night.
“Rubbish, and its removal, is more of an issue as it’s costing us, the ratepayers, a fortune. Local Police Commander Dave Dacey, has also stated that the recent blitz by police of the area cost $5,000 and such an operation is just not sustainable on a regular basis”.
In addition to no alcohol after sunset, she suggested the Council install more garbage bins and empty them more often. Also for the Council to continue regular patrols by night rangers, who would report any unruly behaviour to police.
Cr Bingham raised the matter at a recent meeting of Council and it was resolved to refer the matter back to the Community Safety Committee with the recommendation the cut-off time be later. (The Committee met on 11/12/14 and decided to maintain the 4pm time, which will be trialled until after the Easter weekend).
In the meantime, following a resolution moved by Clr Bingham, Council will review the public toilet amenity which has been deemed as 'scary' and inadequate.
What would you like to see happen?
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.