Enjoying a brew on the beach is a tradition Australians understandably savour, but with the joy of knocking back a few cold ones on the sand comes the responsibility of not acting like an idiot. It's simple, really. With adhering to the latter part of the bargain proving too difficult in St Kilda over Christmas, the local city council has responded by contemplating a ban on beachside boozing.
Approximately 5000 people gathered at the popular St Kilda foreshore on Christmas day, resulting in unruly behaviour through the afternoon and evening, 29 tonnes of rubbish and a clean-up bill of around $23,000, according to a statement released by the City of Port Phillip. As Mayor Bernadene Voss stated, "the sheer number of intoxicated people milling around in the area also resulted in Council having to close some roads, creating a traffic nightmare for residents returning home from visiting friends and relatives on Christmas Day."
A ban planned over the New Year's Eve period had already been extended prior to the incident, running from December 26 to January 4, and was subsequently increased to continue until February 15. The area affected spans from Marina Reserve to West Beach, including the site of the Christmas day party. The council will next meet on February 7 to consider extending the ban further.
"We will be looking at factors such as volumes of broken glass and feedback from groups including residents, visitors, traders and police to help us decide whether an alcohol ban is useful in helping us tackle the challenge of managing such a popular destination which attracts all age groups," explained Voss. Until a further decision is reached, visitors will still be able to enjoy a drink on other Port Phillip beaches — although drinking is prohibited in all public places in the council's region over NYE until 9am on January 2, and again from 5 pm on January 26 to 9 am on January 28.