Have your say on alcohol free zones

GREATER Taree City Council is seeking feedback on the need for continuation of alcohol free zones in both the Taree and Wingham CBDs.

The zones were established by council four years ago for the CBD areas of Taree and Wingham to minimise impact of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour.

At this week's council meeting, the existing alcohol-free zones (AFZs) in the business districts of Wingham and Taree were provided a four month extension until the end of March 2014.

During the extension period, council will be consulting with relevant stakeholders including residents and businesses, to see just how effective the zones have been.

"We are reviewing how effective the current zones have been, before we go for another four-year period," mayor Paul Hogan said. "Councillors have called for a report based on ministerial guidelines and the current community consultation process."

A report from 2009 outlined concerns regarding excessive street drinking, which was leading to antisocial behaviour, malicious damage to property, littering, offensive behaviour and other crimes.

The current zone in Taree is bounded by Commerce Street, Wynter Street, Stevenson Street, and River Street. In Wingham, the current zone is bounded by Combined Street, Rowley Street, Isabella Street, Wynter Street, Bent Street, Primrose Street and Queen Street.

All of the streets and public car parks within those boundaries are included in the zones.

The NSW Police local area command, licensed premises, other nominated contacts and interested community members are being consulted for input as to how effective the zones have been.

"These zones allow police to seize, tip out or otherwise dispose of alcohol from any person observed drinking within the declared areas," the mayor said. "In my mayoral minute, council voted unanimously to extend the existing zones for four months while staff undertake the review."

The establishment of the alcohol-free zones are regulated by Part 4 of the Local Government Act 1993 and the Ministerial Guidelines on Alcohol Free Zones (2009).

Stakeholders having input on how effective the zones have been, can contact council on 6592 5399 or gtaree@gtcc.nsw.gov.au

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