New alcohol-free zones for Kyogle

LOCAL councils have re-established and introduced new alcohol-free zones in areas around the region in an attempt to target anti-social behaviour.

Both Kyogle Council and Richmond Valley Council approved applications at council meetings this week to implement alcohol-free zones in their jurisdictions.

These areas include streets in the Kyogle CBD and Woodburn’s Riverside Park which has been an anti-social behaviour hotspot that may have deterred families from enjoying it.

“Alcohol-free zones help to make it safe for everyone ... to go to the park and enjoy a picnic rather than be faced with highly intoxicated people,” crime prevention officer Senior Constable Michael Hogan said.

“It gives the police the ability to take alcohol off the streets and reduce the likelihood of parties in those areas. It encourages people to drink at home or in a licensed place.”

Local residents and police in Woodburn have reported issues with noise nuisance, rubbish and property damage at Riverside Park which lies adjacent to the Pacific Highway.

Due to its location next to a busy main road, the welfare of intoxicated persons at the park in relation to their ability to cross the road, and reports of people walking in front of traffic, have also contributed to the call for an alcohol-free zone in the park.

“Drinking at night in the park is a concern to businesses in the area and a safety issue as some people who are inebriated have been found to be playing ‘chicken’ with highway traffic,” Councillor Charlie Cox said.

“The park is one of the most popular stopovers on the highway and the amount of rubbish these people leave behind could be a turn off to visitors who stop there.

“These concerns have been raised by police and our policy is to work with police as much as possible,” Mr Cox said.

But Mr Cox acknowledges that visitors may enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage and says council is planning to implement the alcohol-free zone at night only so ‘responsible people’ and those attending ‘festival-related functions’ can enjoy alcohol.

Kyogle councillor Robert Dwyer said Kyogle council is also ‘communicating with local police’ and seeing what areas in Kyogle, Tabulam and Woodenbong they want ‘included and extended in the alcohol free zones.’

Information about the proposed alcohol-free zones will be on display in each of the areas for a period of 28 days and interested bodies can notify the council of their concerns in writing.

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