Battle for Brunswick's peace
TWO days ago Councillor Diane Woods was a very worried woman. Almost a year of effort to have an alcohol ban in place before this year's holiday season at Brunswick Heads looked like falling over at the last minute. Following a spate of problems with drunken youths rioting last year, Cr Woods was determined anti-social behaviour wouldn't get a chance to spoil Brunswick Heads' simple pleasures. But confusion over whether Byron Shire Council or the Department of Lands had control over crucial areas such as Torakina and South Beach Park threatened to prevent police taking action if required. By yesterday morning, after the Twilight Markets, she was breathing a whole lot easier. "It actually went quite well," said Cr Woods. "I left at 10pm before the hotel had closed and there was a little bit of excitement among the young ones but the police had it in hand. Cr Woods, who had worked all year to negotiate the bureaucratic maze of regulations covering the various public spaces in the town, spent Wednesday burning up the wires between local police, the Department of Lands and Byron Shire Council to try and find ways out of the dead-ends she kept encountering. "I was just gobsmacked that at this late hour I would still not be sure we had it," she said. "I'm learning more and more as a councillor that you just can't assume, that when you ask for something, that it will happen. "You have to follow up." Now that the alcohol issues are finally regulated, Cr Woods is focussing on providing youth events and activities to help reduce the 'boredom' factor associated with earlier problems. "I'm donating a prize for the karaoke competition and we're organising a 'battle of the bands'," she said. "Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will be our next test cases," she says.