A group of underage drinkers at last year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations at Corrigans Beach have “ruined it for everyone”, with police and council banning alcohol and canning the midnight fireworks at next week’s event.
The one-and-only fireworks display at Corrigans will now be held at 9.30pm.
The watered down New Year’s Eve celebrations are designed to deter underage drinking
and anti-social behaviour and create a safer environment, according to Batemans Bay Police Sergeant Dave Silversides.
Last year’s celebrations were marred by a group of underage teenagers brawling at Corrigans Reserve at about 11pm.
While alcohol is usually allowed at Corrigans between 8am and 8pm, this year there will be a 24-hour ban from 8am on New Year’s Eve to 8am New Year’s Day.
Sgt Silversides doesn’t believe the new rules are too strict.
“If anything it may encourage people knowing it’s potentially a safer environment and knowing there’s a police presence there and safety precautions are in place,” he said.
The same rules will also apply this Australia Day.
“At the end of the day, it’s only two days. Outside of these two dates, people can have a glass of wine or a couple of stubbies of beer outside 8pm to 8am.
“Alcohol-free zones are there to reduce anti-social behaviour, reduce instances of damaged property and make it safer for the public to be there.”
Eurobodalla Mayor Lindsay Brown said the decision to change the fireworks times and alcohol ban involved police, Eurobodalla Shire Council and Bell’s Carnival.
“Council is concerned for the safety of the broader community,” he said. “One thing we’re concerned about is underage drinking.
“Unfortunately their behaviour ruins it for everyone.”
Sgt Silversides said the changes would better cater for families and make it easier to maintain public safety.
“Police will be maintaining a presence throughout New Year’s Eve in the day and into the night and the morning after,” he said.
“It’s a point of difference to last year where we mainly focused on the night.”
Sgt Silversides said the ban would be on all areas of the reserve from Beach Road including the beach.
The speed limit along Beach Road at Batehaven will also change to 40km/h between George Bass Drive and Edward Rd, between 8am New Year’s Eve to 8am New Year’s Day.
The access to the car park will also be one-way, with entry at the main car park and exit at Edward St at the traffic lights.
Across the shire, any alcohol-free zone which usually runs from 8pm to 8am every day during summer will have a total 24-hour alcohol ban from 8am New Year’s Eve to 8am New Year’s Day.
These include the alcohol-free zones at South Durras, Malua Bay, Broulee, Moruya Heads and Tuross Head.
These rules will also apply on Australia Day.
“There’ll be no consumption of alcohol through that period,” he said.
“Police will also be monitoring these locations throughout the summer period and these dates.”