Alcohol-free Ballina sportsground

ALCOHOL could be banned from sporting fields in the Ballina Shire under a proposal to be considered by the council today.

The draft policy has been supported by police, the Ballina Liquor Accord and the Office of Liquor and Gaming.

Council staff, in a report to councillors, say the ban will give sporting clubs with liquor licences the ability to better manage consumption of alcohol and contain it to licensed areas.

“Where clubs have made the decision not to have alcohol at events, the prohibition provides them with a means to control alcohol bought to the reserve by spectators,” the report states.

Police, concerned about anti-social behaviour, have also requested alcohol bans at several parks and reserves on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Australia Day and Anzac Day.

The bans would be implemented from midnight through to midnight and would aim to prevent a repeat of this year’s Australia Day riots at Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head.

The parks to be included would be: Captain Cook, Fawcett, Missingham and Commemoration parks at Ballina; Elizabeth Ann Brown Park at Alstonville; and Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head.

The draft alcohol policy also calls for 24-hour alcohol bans at Ross Park and the reserve opposite the Lennox Point Hotel, known as the LennoxForeshore Park.

Currently, alcohol can be consumed at theselocations during the day, with prohibition starting at 10pm.

But police argue this arrangement is difficult to manage.

The report to council says extending the alcohol-free zone ‘should have minimal impact on the current park users’.

Councillors will vote on the draft alcohol policy at today’s council meeting.

If it is approved, it will be placed on exhibition to allow members of the public to comment.

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