A NOTORIOUS party park in Manly will be fenced off by authorities following months of complaints and a spike in noisy revellers.
Barricades will be erected at East Esplanade Park for three weeks from this Friday, as council works to repair wear and tear caused by large crowds during the COVID lockdown.
The park has long been a place for afternoon sundowners, but in recent times council and police have been plagued by complaints that it's gone from a family friendly environment to a place of partying.
There have been complaints about public drinking, rubbish, broken COVID social distancing rules and public urination and defecation. While drinking alcohol is currently allowed from 8am-8pm, a move to ban alcohol entirely was made at council's September meeting. The motion was defeated nine votes to five.
On Tuesday, however, council said the park would be temporarily closed so it could be returfed, fertilised, aerated and top dressed.
I've been at The Office with friends and then come back and there were three men all weeing against the wall of my clinic.Manly resident and business owner Jenna
Manly resident and business owner Jenna, who fears retribution if her surname is used, said she'd caught numerous groups of men urinating against her East Esplanade business.
"It's quite disrespectful and a bit frustrating," she said. "I've been at The Office with friends and then come back and there were three men all weeing against the wall of my clinic. I was a little bit taken aback."
Jenna likened a recent weekend at The Office to New Year's Eve, and said revellers stayed well after the 8pm curfew for drinking alcohol at the site, and it was noisy with rubbish left behind.
Despite the issues she has called on the park to remain open for sundowners, and said the majority of park users do the right thing.
Councillor David Walton has been among those calling for park users to behave.
"When a small amount of people dump their rubbish, urinate in public or in neighbour's front yards and do not comply with other laws including the time restrictions for the consumption of alcohol, action should be taken against them," he said.
"If poor behaviour continues at The Office, there will come a time when the majority of the councillors will not support the consumption of alcohol in this public area."
Craig Moulds has operated his business Manly Kayak Centre right alongside The Office for the past 27 years and has seen the drinking spot grow in popularity. But, he said: "I've never seen the public urination and I've never seen the drunk and disorderly. It'd be really sad to see that public area shut down and not being utilised like it is."
On Tuesday, mayor Michael Regan said wear and tear from the lockdown was evident at the park.
"With the local pubs and restaurants reopening this week we expect less demand for picnics in this area which gives us an opportunity to get in and get this work done now," he said.
Have something to say? Send a letter to the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: