Keen for a beachside beverage and in the vicinity of the St Kilda foreshore? Don't go rushing to the sand with a drink in hand just yet. The City of Port Phillip has extended its existing temporary ban on boozing, which was initially put in place after a wild Christmas day party and will now last through until April 3.
That means that coastal Easter shindigs will also need to be drink-free, as the council contemplates its next steps. A long-term ban has been under consideration since approximately 5000 people gathered at the popular spot on December 25, resulting in unruly behaviour through the afternoon and evening, 29 tonnes of rubbish and a clean-up bill of around $23,000.
"This is about doing our best to balance safety with celebration," said Mayor Bernadene Voss following the Council meeting on February 7. "We heard, and sympathised, with some residents who told us they want the right to be able to drink responsibly on our beautiful St Kilda foreshore... but we also heard local traders, residents and emergency services personnel telling us that alcohol is a problem and is getting worse."
The council will engage with the community to ascertain views on the effectiveness of the current trial ban, and whether it was encouraging or deterring use of the area. Possibly permitting well-managed events to supply alcohol on Christmas Day, rather than visitors bringing their own, will also be explored.
Restrictions were initially planned to run over the New Year's Eve period, were first extended prior to Christmas and then subsequently increased to continue until February 15 following the unruly incident. The area affected spans from Marina Reserve to West Beach.