A bid to ban drinking at The Office has received a stay of execution, with council instead agreeing to send a stronger message to the minority misbehaving at the site. This will include a stronger police response and stakeholder meetings to look at longer term strategies in the form of a taskforce yet to be developed.
While there is considerable support for retention of the East Esplanade sundowners from local residents, there are also a number who are tired of their homes being used as a makeshift urinal.
Resident Joel Outram spoke on behalf of “concerned and frustrated” residents near East Esplanade. He gave an emotional plea to councillors stating that an elderly resident was forced to close her window on the first floor because of the “overwhelming smell of urine”.
“I needed to pick up my 2 year old son and carry him across the wet carport so his feet didn’t get wet from urine,” he said. The Matthew Bligh building was getting about 40 to 50 people urinating in their block every single weekend, he said.
Joel said the crowd is changing, with more people from outside the area with an anything goes mentality, so some form of improvement management of the site was needed.
Manly Community Forum Co-chair Ray Mathieson also spoke in favour of an alcohol ban which he said could be relaxed during the quieter months, asking councillors to “please stop this rot”.
Manly Observer has spoken with a number of councillors concerned that if the public urination and behaviour isn’t reigned in they will have no choice but to make drinking illegal at the popular picnic spot.
The amendment was put forward by former police officer Cr David Walton and received a majority support. Cr Pat Daley, who has long crusaded against alcohol being permitted at the site, had reportedly asked not to be part of the taskforce as he is “burned out” by the issue.
You can see our previous articles on the issue here: ‘It’s a picnic area not a beer garden’: battle over Manly’s ‘Office’ drinks resumes and Cheers and Jeers Over “Office” Beers.