In harrowing news for anyone who enjoys a sunny afternoon bev, a Melbourne council will consider banning alcohol consumption in Fitzroy’s favourite Edinburgh Gardens over the summer months.
ABC reports the City of Yarra will discuss the measure next Tuesday, potentially revoking guidelines which permit alcohol consumption at the park between 9am and 9pm.
The council notes the “exceptionally popular” Edinburgh Gardens site became a socially-distanced hangout spot as Melbourne’s COVID-19 restrictions eased. Despite the recent reopening of nearby bars, punters still cannot get enough of a lazy tinnie in the park.
But the City of Yarra states some residents have recently reported public urination, drug paraphernalia, and anti-social behaviour.
Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, Mayor Gabrielle De Vietri said some residents are “at wit’s end, because they can’t sleep, there have been people in the laneways.”
Additionally, the council notes the cost of additional port-a-loos for the summer period has swelled to $100,000, with additional staffing, cleaning, and rubbish removal costs adding to that figure.
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The council is set to consider two options: maintaining the current alcohol consumption guidelines and leaning on Victoria Police to monitor the park, or pulling Edinburgh Gardens from the council’s list of approved alcohol consumption sites.
Banning a 3pm rosé in the park isn’t a sure thing, though. Mayor De Vietri said the council is hearing from a wide swathe of park-users, and even the council agenda notes banning booze could shift the worst issues to other nearby parks and gardens.
“The banning of alcohol may not resolve a number of issues that are occurring and will require an ongoing commitment by the police to enforce,” the agenda states.
The council also notes that banning alcohol may not cut down on the extra dunny and cleaning costs expected over summer.
Other Melbourne councils have made the decision to ban public booze consumption in response to reports of anti-social behaviour.
Back in 2018, Port Phillip Council moved to permanently ban alcohol along the St Kilda foreshore over the summer months, after punters left a particularly grotty scene over Christmas one year prior.
As someone who used to live near St Kilda, and thoroughly enjoys the idea of imbibing in the sunshine: don’t let a few gronks ruin a good thing for everyone else, imo.