Teens trash beach
By BELINDA SCOTT
ROBYN Binet is issuing a challenge to parents who think it is okay to drop their children off for a beach party to spend one of those party nights on her front verandah.
"I'd like them to hear what really goes on," said the Korora resident, who lives close to Hills Beach Reserve, the site of a riotous and destructive teenage party on Saturday night which involved everything from fireworks to brawls.
"The kids say the police harass them, but that's not the case at all."
Coffs Harbour police spent hours at Hills Beach Reserve on Saturday night, with at least three police cars patrolling the area and police officers breaking up a brawl, moving on partygoers, issuing warnings, putting out a fire and issuing infringement notices to underage drinkers.
"The worst part of this is the parents are dropping them off," said Senior Constable Craig Cheeseman, adding the party started about 6pm and continued until after 1.30am on Sunday morning.
The drinking party is estimated to have involved hundreds of young people. One teenager said most of them were about 15 and 16 and partygoers came from three different Coffs Coast high schools.
A bent and battered Coffs Harbour Council sign at Hills Beach Reserve says alcohol is prohibited between 9pm and 9am.
Senior Constable Cheeseman said the party, which is believed to have been organised as a result of a birthday party in a nearby street, had caused 'a fair bit' of destruction to the playground and someone had tried to set one of the picnic tables alight, as well as intimidating residents.
During the party all the toilets at Hills Beach Reserve were filled with soil and rubbish and Coffs Harbour City Council's cleaner spent two hours yesterday unblocking them. He said among other things he removed a metre-wide square of turf from one toilet bowl, while others were filled up to the seat with sand.
Korora residents praised Coffs Harbour police for their response on Saturday night, saying the police had been determined and persistent in dealing with the drinking party.
Neville Franklin said Korora residents were a tolerant bunch but beach parties should stay where they started ? on the beach.
"I've got no objection to the kids having a beach party, it's a real Australian thing to do," he said.
"But not the binge drinking ? not having to lie awake because of the four-letter words, the screams and yells and broken bottles in front of your house."
Lindy Franklin said she felt girls who attend these parties were particularly vulnerable.
"It's hard to tell if the screaming is in jest or someone is in need of rescue," she said.
Neighbour Pat Andrew said the reserve was a lovely place for families and children in the daytime 'but at night it's like the vampires come out'.