Wollongong councillors debated the merits of an alcohol-free zone on a section of Cringila's main street at Monday night's meeting.
Cr Ann Martin moved a motion calling on council to investigate setting up such a zone on Lake Ave, between Birmingham and Bethlehem sts, due to community concerns over street drinking outside a bottle shop.
"This has been happening for a while," she said. ".. and it's the fact that some of that street drinking appears to be occurring over quite an extended period of time.
"... Certainly a number of residents have raised their concerns about not feeling safe on that street, and children also particularly feeling like they don't want to walk on that side of the street."
Cr Martin said while she didn't want the bottle shop to suffer, something needed to be put in place to deter street drinking and associated anti-social behaviour: "If the community is feeling unsafe we need to deal with it".
Cr Vicky King made an amendment to the motion, asking council to look at extending the proposed alcohol-free zone on Lake Ave - from Five Islands Rd to Steel St.
"Having been a resident of Cringila I'm fully aware of where the drinking occurs, and it's not just outside the bottle shop," she said.
"(An alcohol-free zone) shouldn't just focus on the area in front of the bottle shop because you then just walk across the road and you're in a non alcohol-free zone."
However Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery had concerns about the proposed extension of the zone, claiming it "went too far" and "intruded on the community".
"I want you to understand that the culture of Cringila is different from any part of this city," he said.
"Elderly men not drinking of Islamic background sit outside on milk (crates) of an evening. I think it's one of the most beautiful things because these old guys get together, they're not drunk, they're just sitting there and I don't want them harassed.
" ... The implication is they're all consuming alcohol - I don't want that to turn into cops having to go by and see what they're drinking."
Cr John Dorahy also spoke against the amended motion, stating it was important for council to engage, and work with, different cultures to come up with solutions.
The motion was eventually carried, with Cr Dorahy the only councillor not in favour. Council will now consult with community members, and police, and report back.
"This is about giving police the power to act," Cr Martin said. "Clearly I don't want the traditions of Cringila to be negatively impacted."