Lennox plan to end NYE
By DAWN COHEN
LENNOX Head's New Year's Eve should be in Ballina, according to George Bowden, manager of the Lennox Head Bowls and Sports Club.
In a bid to make celebrations safer, Ballina Shire Council organised a childfriendly celebration last New Year's Eve, with a laser light show as a replacement for the traditional beach fireworks.
But Mr Bowden said some locals found the strong police presence too intrusive.
"The police can't win with 10,000 people in Lennox and 50 per cent of them under 25. Some can and some can't handle alcohol," he said.
"They should organise an alcohol-free event at the Kingsford Smith Oval and bus people in from Lennox.
"There is only one entrance, so it's easy to control and plenty of room."
Ballina Shire Council Staff will review the event at a closed meeting on Friday, including the move to focus celebrations on the Williams Reserve sports field rather than the beach front.
The reserve was fenced off with rides and food organised by the Lennox Head Lions Club, as well as a live band.
However, many revellers were disappointed when the lasers were not visible because of environmental conditions.
Rita Cranston, president of the Lennox Head Lions Club said the evening was, nevertheless, a success.
"We received positive feedback, including from older teenagers," she said.
"We provided fun without the focus being alcohol."
Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce president Judy Hill said the chamber had not yet discussed the event.
"Some people felt there was no atmosphere, others thought it was fantastic," she said.
"I personally thought it had a much safer feel."
Lennox Head Residents Association treasurer Fred Goodman thought the night was well organised.
"I was pleased it was away from the hotel," he said.
"The last place you want a New Year's Eve event is on the beach because you don't want the dunes littered with rubbish, especially broken glass."
But Tony Smith, a volunteer with Lennox Head Surf Life Saving and owner of the Ocean View Cafe, thought the evening was a dud.
"Police were trying to get people off the streets, but they didn't care if they went down the lanes which were dark," he said.
"There were fights in the alleys.