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Residents take action against “hoons”

01 Oct 2019

Residents take action against “hoons” Image

By Sean Car

Yarra’s Edge residents are understood to be on the brink of forming a new action group in response to ongoing “hoon” related activity and mass gatherings in the area.

It comes after more than two years of regular meets-ups of large car and motorbike clubs in the precinct on most Friday and Saturday nights, which continue to distress local residents.

The past month has been particularly bad for locals, with one resident describing Friday, September 20’s combined meeting of more than 100 cars and motorbikes as “the Friday from hell.” A further 70 cars are believed to have been in the area past midnight on Saturday, September 28.

The issue is also understood to have spread to NewQuay near Ron Barassi Snr Park, where noise from car and motorbike groups can regularly be heard late at night across the harbour, according to one resident.

Residents say they are fed up with continued inaction from the City of Melbourne and local police to respond to almost weekly complaints of excessive noise from revving engines, “illegal parking” and antisocial behaviour.

It’s understood that the new action group would lobby the council and the police for stronger security measures to prevent vehicle access such as CCTV cameras, fencing around Point Park and the installation of speed humps.

Last month, Victoria Police told Docklands News that unmarked police cars were regularly patrolling the area and that it would soon be executing a “special operation” to target the groups. However, no such operation is believed to have yet taken place.

“We’ve got to consider our members’ safety too in these situations as often when we arrive the cars will scatter like flies, which have led to a number of dangerous incidents involving our members,” acting Sgt Alix Watson from Melbourne Highway Patrol told Docklands News last month.

Resident Matt Lyon said that the revelation of risk to people’s personal safety was “extremely alarming” to local residents. “This is even more of a reason for meaningful action to be taken on this issue by authorities,” he said.

Residents from the new action group have even requested anonymity to Docklands News, alleging that members of the car groups had previously made threats against them.

Locals have also questioned claims of regular patrols, with many saying that numerous calls to police on Friday and Saturday nights often went unnoticed. Victoria Police did not respond to Docklands News regarding an update on its operations in the area.

Residents have also slammed the City of Melbourne for not taking any meaningful action to deal with compliance issues in Yarra’s Edge such as illegal parking, with Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood questioning whether the groups were “hoons.”

“In conversations between the City of Melbourne, Victoria Police and local residents, the word ‘hooning’ has been raised, and evidence so far is that whilst there is variable numbers of cars and motorcycles attending the area, the noise from the vehicles and people talking is the cause of disturbance to residents,” he said.

“There is not however, any ongoing material evidence of vehicles doing burnouts or drag racing in the area, which is representative of ‘hooning.’”

“We’re sympathetic to residents experiencing noise issues because this can really impact amenity and become a nuisance. A range of options are being considered around the park to prevent vehicle access.”

Local resident Trevor said that Cr Wood’s response to the issue made him “ill.”

“It appears that the last two years of dealing with The City of Melbourne has been to no effect,” he said. “They have not listened or taken notice of anything that residents have alerted council to.”

“Council from day one said more than two or three cars an evening was an OH&S issue and, therefore, would not send anyone out to enforce parking restrictions. The numbers have now grown to 100-plus cars an evening depending on weather conditions knowing that no action will be taken against them.”

“Not one car has been booked by council and those attending just laugh and joke among themselves once police have left the area.”

While Cr Wood said council was aware of “one unknown vehicle damaging the grass in the park on one occasion,” as reported in the May edition of Docklands News, Trevor said this was far from the case.

He said that a number of incidents had been reported to police, as well as council’s manager of on-street compliance Dean Robertson, including numerous burnouts, cars driving two abreast and motorbikes doing wheelies along South Wharf Drive and Lorimer St.

In an email to one of the new action group’s organisers Robert, Lord Mayor and Docklands resident Sally Capp said that she recognised that the situation had been very distressing for residents.

“It is a difficult situation, but please be assured that the City of Melbourne is doing everything it can within its powers to restore amenity in the area,” Cr Capp said.

“We have approached Development Victoria to work with us to erect a post and rail fence around the park area, and they are currently considering this request. I have also been advised that residents in the area will soon be consulted about the installation of road humps along Point Park Crescent.”

“Victoria Police will put this area on the My Safe Streets roster each weekend. Police officers will come and talk to the drivers or riders, but if there is no breach of the law, they have no authority to move people on.”

“I have asked Dean [Roberston] about the possible installation of CCTV cameras, and he will speak to our coordinator of security services to determine feasibility.”

If you have been impacted by hoon activity and would like to join the new action group, which will be lobbying government and local agencies, you can contact Robert and Trevor at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

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