By Sophie McDonald
Alcohol safety operations have increased in the Maroochydore area as the opening of several nightlife precincts has attracted an influx of patrons.
Sunshine Coast District crime prevention officer Senior Constable Mark Readman said police presence in the Maroochydore area has increased significantly over weekends.
Alcohol-fuelfed violence has become a major concern for the Sunshine Coast after two men were killed earlier this year outside popular nightlife venues.
Forty-five year old, Wayne Dover, died in hospital after being assaulted outside Factory: The Project at the Sunshine Plaza and 53-year-old, Bruce Steensen, was killed instantly from a fight outside the Mooloolaba Surf Club.
“In light of the two murders earlier this year, police presence has increased in all nightclub precincts, particularly Maroochydore,” Constable Readman said.
“Generally the Sunshine Coast is a safe and desirable place to live… however, we are not immune to crime and to incidents escalating quickly.
“There has been an increase in serious assaults since the summer, however overall assaults have decreased by 8 percent.”
The recent alcohol-fueled violence incidents have not disheartened the venue staff of the Maroochydore area.
Piano Bar employee Charlotte McLeod said they remain confident that no further incidents will occur.
“We haven’t had any trouble on Ocean St and I don’t think we will,” Miss McLeod said.
“Police are always circling the area and security do a great job at patrolling the venue.”
In addition to extra police presence, a new taxi pick-up point will be introduced to combat increased transport problems at the popular nightspot.
All pre-booked taxis will pick up passengers between 10pm and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights from the Maroochydore bus station on Horton Pde, the trial starts on May 30th.
Councillor for Maroochydore and Sunshine Coast Tourism Jason O’Pray said Sunshine Coast Council is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of residents.
“My sympathies extend to the loved ones of the victims of drunken violence,” Mr O’Pray said
“I join the communities outrage at such behaviour, it just shouldn’t be happening.
“We encourage all residents and tourists to behave appropriately… and to look out for their mates.”
The Collaborative Approach to Liquor Management Maroochydore has begun reviewing the Queensland Government’s Safe Night Out Strategy (.pdf).
The Sunshine Coast has been selected as one of the 15 Safe Night Out Precincts in the state.
Registered venues in the Maroochydore area include:
- The Boat Shed
- Maroochydore RSL Club
- Sands Tavern
- Maroochy Surf Club
The organisation sets clear standards and guidelines that are applied in conjunction with Responsible Service of Alcohol Code of Practice.
Solbar manager Brian Goodworth said over the past few weeks’ patronage in the area has increased significantly.
“I think because of the unique aspects of the area, it’s becoming more popular,” Mr Goodworth said.
“As the area grows, it is vital that we ensure everyone’s safety when it comes to alcohol consumption.”
Constable Mark Readman said Queensland police are certain alcohol is the main cause for the incidents, however drugs are also an underlying issue.
“A recent study into Sunshine Coast District offenders and suspects for street violence assaults revealed over 70% had recorded drug convictions with the Queensland Police Service databases,” Constable Readman said.
The Queensland Police Service has a number of education programs in place on the Sunshine Coast to deal with alcohol and drug related street violence.
“Lets all stop the violence, enough is enough,” Constable Readman said.