Stop the riot!


LOUTISH, grog-fuelled behaviour throughout Coffs Harbour is infuriating residents and our civic leaders.

So much so the city council has expanded the alcohol-prohibited zone at the Jetty Foreshores, including the jetty, all the way south along the foreshores to include Corambirra Point.

Alcohol will be restricted from 9pm to 9am, rather than the existing 8pm to 10am, in line with restrictions at other coastal reserves.

The council is also declaring Jordan Esplanade and car parks on that road as alcohol-free zones, with no grog allowed at any time.

It will also consider traffic calming to stop speedsters.

In addition, a 9pm to 9am alcohol prohibition will be in force in Shepherds Park, on the corner of Meadow Street and Azalea Avenue, and at Wonga Park on the corner of 3rd and 1st avenues in Sawtell.

Jetty resident Dick Bienefelt told Thursday's council meeting Jordan Esplanade was a regular spot for binge drinking and drag racing, particularly in summer.

He said the southernmost barbecue shelter was a haven for drunken hooligans, who often left behind broken beer bottles.

Vandalism to council property was also a worry.

Mr Bienefelt said alcohol bans were a positive step, but a more effective deterrent would be breathalysing hoon drivers.

Cr Bill Palmer said it could be argued the alcohol restrictions would move the problem elsewhere.

"If we move them somewhere else, we go through the same procedure and move them somewhere else again," he said.

Cr Jenny Bonfield, meanwhile, wondered if Coffs Harbour was providing enough entertainment for our youth.

"It's a social problem. It won't just go away because we say you can't drink in that spot. We have to find ways of entertaining them," she said.

The mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, said Coffs Harbour police were limited in their ability to deal with anti-social behaviour because they were understaffed.

Staffing levels were a State Government issue, as was the provision of youth activities in regional areas, he said.

"The situation of two officers confronting 120 people, where the majority might be intoxicated, would be a daunting task," Cr Rhoades said.

Cr Ian Hogbin encouraged residents to be proactive and to contact police if trouble was brewing during these gatherings.

"It's not a Coffs Harbour problem, it's a problem countrywide," Cr Hogbin said.

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