Towns unite to get hoons off streets
By MARY MANN
DRUNKEN 'hoons' are giving Lennox Head and Alstonville bad names and Mick O'Connor has had enough of it.
The licensee of Alstonville's Federal Hotel is calling for the main CBD area to be made an alcohol-free zone in a bid to stop late-night drunken brawls and groups of rowdy youths staining the image of the otherwise quiet village.
And he's not alone. His counterparts at the Lennox Point Hotel are calling for the same thing in their town.
It comes after Ballina's centre was made an alcohol-free zone late last year after a push from hoteliers and police.
"Instead of them just laughing in the face of police, they can be hit in the back pocket with a fine where it hurts," Mr O'Connor said.
"It would help stop all the hoons drinking in the streets, where they think they can get away with it.
"It's something that affects the whole town. When people drinking in the streets decide to congregate in large numbers, it's a concern and an eyesore for Alstonville."
The Richmond Local Area Command has recorded the second-highest number of assaults in NSW, and half were alcohol-related.
Alcohol-free zones can give police more power to fine or move on troublemakers drinking in the streets a power hoteliers are hoping could ease the number of alcohol-fuelled incidents in the region.
The Alstonville/Wollongbar Chamber of Commerce has jumped aboard the push, and will write a letter of support to accompany the proposal when it goes to Ballina Shire Council for approval.
"It would be something positive that I'm sure the community and police would embrace," chamber president Richard Lutze said.