Call to create alcohol-free zones on coast

A group of northern Illawarra residents fed up with antisocial behaviour at prominent tourism spots along the coast wants Wollongong City Council to make the areas alcohol-free.

Group spokeswoman Heather Smith said residents were sick and tired of excessive noise and dangerous driving from car hoons and speeding motorbikes, and believed alcohol was a major contributor.

She said groups of people were using the Royal National Park as a race track before congregating at Bald Hill and the Bulgo and Otford lookouts at night. 

‘‘They leave behind bottles and litter, and there’s been vandalism at some sites,’’ she said.

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‘‘They’re destroying the lookouts and detracting from the tourism value of the area, especially if visitors turn up in the morning before the area has been cleaned.’’

The group raised its concerns at a meeting with Heathcote MP Lee Evans, which was also attended by Wollongong police and Wollongong councillor Greg Petty.

Cr Petty said at the meeting police advised that having the areas declared alcohol-free zones would assist them in curbing the bad behaviour.

The request prompted Cr Petty to put forward a notice of motion to this evening’s council meeting, seeking to have the idea of alcohol-free zones investigated.

Cr Petty yesterday told the Mercury he was all-too familiar with the problem facing the northern suburbs.

He said drivers often used the road where he lived - Walker Street in Helensburgh - as a ‘‘race track’’.

‘‘I fully believe this type of behaviour is affecting the amenity and safety of residents, as well as tourists who use the roads and lookouts,’’ he said. 

‘‘We as a council need to do all we can to help the police so they can curb this behaviour.’’  

As part of the motion, Cr Petty will be asking council staff to prepare a report on the matter.

Northern Illawarra resident Heather Smith. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Northern Illawarra resident Heather Smith. Picture: GREG TOTMAN