BAD BEHAVIOUR IN FRESHWATER RESERVE PARK
For the last two weekends with great weather and lockdown fever, there have been large crowds of people picnicking and partying on the Freshwater parks near the beach. As the evening progresses, families and older groups leave resulting in younger groups dominating the area.
Last Saturday the revellers vandalised the Freshwater Surf Club smashing public toilets and sinks, ripping off the doors, wrecking the roller shutters on the Lifesavers Hut and damaged the Cafe’s furniture. Along with an overflow of garbage, there was also broken glass all over the reserve and on the Surf Club driveway. Urinating and defecating in both public and private properties was commonplace.
While we don’t know where all these people came from it is clear that they are Freshie locals as well as residents from the other nearby beaches’ communities. No matter where they came from, the destructive behaviour is unacceptable.
It is wonderful that we are able to experience an outdoor lifestyle with friends, food and drink in lovely surroundings but along with that comes the obligation to be responsible.
It is not the desired outcome that the amenities both public and private be abused and destroyed. Any right-thinking person would agree that the enjoyment of our community is for everyone and we are so fortunate to be able to gather and celebrate together.
These two weekends were completely out of hand. Police were called and even they were unable to manage the crowd as they were significantly outnumbered and we understand the Riot Squad had to be called in.
If we don’t want to lose our recreational areas, we need to take personal and community responsibility for controlling bad behaviour. Local residents and other participants need to engage the police early in the piece when things are escalating and looking like triggering a bad outcome and not wait until things are so out of control that the Riot Squad needs to be brought in to break up the gathering!
The Friends of Freshwater are hounding Council to provide adequate temporary toilet facilities while lobbying strongly for more permanent structures. We are also lobbying for more garbage bins strategically placed around the upper part of the park and the hillside to manage the huge amount of litter created by the crowds.
We are planning on engaging with Council and Police to build management plan to deal with large gatherings and avert the out-of-control behaviour before something tragic happens.
It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that we do not lose our ability to enjoy our beautiful and precious assets.