The City of Yarra has decided that the next new years eve celebration in Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy will be alcohol free. This is in response to the repeated trashing of the gardens in recent years on new years eve and Australia Day, with the worst example being last new years eve, where the gardens were so packed with irresponsible idiots that brave Ambulance staff refused to wade through the crowds for fear of injury and sexual assault.
The problem is controlling crowds and the alcohol they bring will cost a lot of money, arguably more than the cost of cleaning up the destruction. But it’s not as simple as that. How do you thoroughly clean a children’s playground of human shit? How many plant killing chemicals are required to make all those surfaces safe? What is required to make people feel safe returning to use those facilities?
The City of Yarra has been forced by legal concerns to do things differently. In recent years it has known there was the potential for large crowds and it was negligent in failing to provide enough lighting, bins and temporary toilets.
It was incompetent in failing to monitor social media for announcements and invites to unauthorised parties using amplified music, and for failing to shut those down as soon as they set up in the gardens. It allowed property it is responsible for managing to be overtaken by thugs and morons who caused significant property damage to fences as well as leaving behind litter and broken glass.
In future it needs to make it clear that, as permits for such activities will not be issued, setting up the relevant equipment will be considered trespassing, the equipment will be confiscated and the offenders removed from the gardens by force if necessary.
The council was also in danger of being sued for failing to manage public safety by allowing a situation to unfold that was so dangerous the Police could not control it and Ambulance staff could not help injured people. If someone has been seriously hurt in there they could have blamed the council and sought compensation.
Now the sniping begins. Socialist councillor Steve Jolly supports the young people having fun at the expense of ratepayers and the broader community. ALP councillor Roberto Colanzi has just sarcastically tweeted about the flyers promoting the event protesting against the potential alcohol ban that Jolly endorsed littering the streets as a metaphorical precursor to the main event.
— Roberto Colanzi (@robertocolanzi) August 25, 2014
These are going up everywhere. See you next Thursday night @ Laundry pic.twitter.com/DyLMHbYett
— Stephen Jolly (@stephenjolly99) August 14, 2014
A party with a degree of freedom to drink responsibly would be the best outcome for many people. But some people are unwilling or incapable of being reasonable and respecting the freedoms and safety of others. They unnecessarily cause danger and suffering to others and this should not be tolerated. Unfortunately, to prevent this, no one will be able to drink in the gardens.
You can’t blame the fun police for this. The blame is entirely with the party animals who ruined the fun for everyone else last year.