Residents going through hell with late-night partying

Brendan Rees

Blaring music from “fine dining” restaurants and unruly patrons yelling and fighting in the streets is making life a nightmare for residents in a waterfront district of Docklands.

Neighbours have been forced to put up with the reoccurring noise from The Sri Lounge and Almina restaurants next to Victoria Harbour at NewQuay Promenade with reports that the late-night partying was being heard until the early hours.

A disgruntled resident voicing her own, and her neighbours’ concerns told Docklands News that The Sri Lounge became more like a “nightclub” on weekends, with loud music making it hard for people to sleep and function the next day.

“The noise caused me to lose my sleep which led to migraine and gastric over the prolonged period,” Nicolle said, who asked for her surname not to be published. “The ripple effect impacted my health and work since I feel very tired and sick therefore unable to focus on work.”

“There are many residents affected by these inconsiderate operators.”

Nicolle said she often saw patrons yelling and fighting from her balcony and on occasions, “pushing each other into the waters in front of the restaurant.”

“They threw a wild party with a DJ blasting loud music and their customers created havoc, yelling vulgarity and loud arguments through the night,” she said.

“Almina is also throwing noisy late-night parties for their customers and their customers are prone to create havoc as well.”

“My neighbour who stays on a lower floor has been affected by the loud noise disturbance and they have decided to leave Docklands next year.”

“I plan to leave Docklands if this issue is not resolved because my health has been badly affected.”

Nicolle said she had called police “several times” but the issue was still ongoing.

On one occasion, she said she saw revellers running amok until 4am which included a group of 10 engaging in a fight “while one of them fell into the waters in front of the restaurant.”

“I’m afraid to step out of my building at night because their customers usually get drunk and create havoc outside my building entrance.”

Having reached her wits’ end, Nicolle reported the incidents to Greens MP for Melbourne Ellen Sandell and made a formal complaint to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).

Ms Sandell said she had received “quite a few reports” from Docklands residents about venues potentially operating after their licence hours allow, as well as “concerning behaviour” from some people leaving venues.

“I’ve raised this with the Labor Minister for Liquor and Gaming regulation but unfortunately she has not been much help at trying to come to a solution,” she said.

 

We’re lucky in Melbourne to have such great nightlife, and we want to protect that, but residents also deserve a good night’s sleep and to be safe around their homes.

 

“We need to make sure everyone is clear on what rules apply, and make sure they’re being adhered to. It’s not good enough for the regulator and government just to ignore the issue or pretend there is no problem.”
“I encourage anyone who has been affected by this to contact my office if they feel the government isn’t addressing their concerns, and we can continue to elevate the issue.”

In recent changes to Victorian liquor laws, bars, restaurants, and cafes can now stay open until 1am every day of the week, effective from March 15.

City of Melbourne councillor and Docklands resident Jamal Hakim said he believed businesses had “been really responsible with the way they’ve responded to noise and worked with local residents” but added “if it is something that is growing, I share that concern with residents and would be pleased to speak to anyone about that.”

“There’s been a long conversation between residents and businesses – and businesses I think are acutely aware of that in Docklands for the most part. Most businesses do the right thing,” he said. “I think concern would be if the restaurant or the bar isn’t responding quickly to those [complaints]. I think that would be an issue, and for residents to note that and inform council so that we can support them.”

The Docklands Representative Group (DRG) said it had received reports that music was a “huge and growing” issue for residents.

“While residents know that living in the city isn’t going to be a quiet experience, the level, type, and time of noise is increasingly problematic – sometimes 24/7,” the DRG said.

“While late-night venue music is an issue for some, and complaints can be made to the EPA and the City of Melbourne, often more of an issue is the patrons – who yell and scream when leaving these venues. And this will be exacerbated by the extended liquor licences.”

When the issue was raised by Ms Sandell during a Parliament sitting last August, Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Minister Melissa Horne said noise and amenity conditions had been place on The Sri Lounge.

She added, “Complaints for a potential breach of conditions may be sent to the Commission for further investigation. Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (s3AA), the noise level of patrons who have left the premises are not the responsibility of the venue unless they are considered ‘sufficiently proximate’ to the premises.”

Victoria Police said it was generally not aware of any increase in reporting or issues relating to noise pollution, however a police spokesperson said Operation My City was run every Friday and Saturday night, to prevent anti-social behaviour and ensure safety for those enjoying Melbourne’s nightlife.

The Sri Lounge and Almina could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, a resident has taken to social media to vent her frustration over construction noise taking place in a vacant block on LaTrobe St with a jackhammer roaring after midnight •

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