Residents at wits’ end as blaring music from nightclub makes life a living hell

Brendan Rees

A nightclub next to Victoria Harbour is making life miserable for a Docklands couple as loud DJ music constantly blasts until the early hours.

The residents said they could not get a proper night’s sleep as the recurring noise and “excessive” base from the Watermark Docklands had reached the point of “beyond ridiculous”.  

They said loud music blared until 3am from the Bourke St venue every weekend, with one of them now seeking help for sleep insomnia.

“It takes me sometimes three days to recover, I suffer from migraines if I don’t sleep,” the resident said, adding they had spent thousands of dollars staying at alternative accommodation over the past few months.

To make matters worse, the couple said patrons also engaged in anti-social and aggressive behaviour, “often attacking each other in some violent form, screaming all night and playing loud music from their cars next to the residential area.”

“Their patrons often litter the area around the club and urinate in the vicinity of our buildings.”

Victoria Police said while it could not comment on individual businesses, it was aware of the current concerns around venues in Docklands.

“Victoria Police works collaboratively with the VGCCC (Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation) and the City of Melbourne, and together conduct joint highly visible patrols in and around licensed premises,” a police spokesperson said.

“The Melbourne Divisional Licensing Unit also works closely with Victoria Police’s state liquor unit, and regularly engages with local hospitality venues and local liquor accords to ensure safe practices are occurring at venues.”

“Local uniform police are also tasked to run regular patrols of the area as part of their duties, to not only detect offences but disrupt them before they occur.”

According to a VGCCC, the Watermark Docklands’ late-night licence stated it was allowed to trade until 3am, but “the licensee shall not cause or permit undue detriment to the amenity of the area to arise out of or in connection with the use of the premises to which the licence relates during or immediately after the trading hours authorised under this licence.”

The Docklands couple said they had reported the issue multiple times to authorities including Victoria Police and while there had been some “minor short-term improvements” the venue had reverted to creating the “same old issues” with the operators ignoring “the significant damage they create to people’s health and wellbeing”.

“We’re not against the nightclubs, but they should be in an appropriate place. They’re trying to mix a lot of things in one place,” they said.

“The nature of Docklands is meant for daytime family-friendly activities. We wish the peace and harmony would come back at night.”

Watermark Docklands is advertised online as an Italian food and woodfired pizza restaurant, plus a wine bar – which the couple thought would cater towards family-friendly events.

In an email from the VGCCC to the couple, the Victorian gaming regulator acknowledged the couple’s complaint and referred them to a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal case in which CBD residents had opposed a bar/tavern due to amenity impacts.

“If noise levels and other disturbances are intolerable but still within limits set by permits and licences, then residents may need to consider residing in locations that meet their expectations,” the VCAT response said.

But the couple said they felt “brushed off” and will consider leaving the area if the matter is not resolved despite their love of Docklands.

In the meantime, they have found used underwear, cigarettes, and broken alcoholic beverages thrown outside the club and around the residential area.

“A few weeks ago, two young guys who attended their function were stabbed violently not far from the club near the residential area at 3.20am,” the couple said.

The couple’s concerns come as residents in NewQuay recently voiced their frustration over loud music blasting from two nightclubs, which had impacted their sleep and quality of life.

The Docklands Representative Group (DRG) has also previously said that Docklands was “fast becoming a no-go zone” at night due to reports of increased violence, anti-social behaviour, and public intoxication.

A DRG spokesperson said it was a “sad fact” that many residents have expressed distress about the late-night venues in Docklands.

“We are hoping with Victoria Police’s new Neighbourhood Policing model they will learn the nuances of Docklands and the needs of locals. We have discussed with Victoria Police the need for visible presence, particularly at night on weekends,” the spokesperson said.

The City of Melbourne was contacted for this story but said issues arising from Watermark Docklands was a Victoria Police matter. 

Watermark’s owners were contacted for comment by Docklands News. •


Picture: Watermark Docklands.

Photo: Murray Enders

Waterways team to the rescue

Waterways team to the rescue

November 29th, 2023 - Docklands News
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