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Australia

Waverley Council Mayor Paula Masselos considers limiting group gatherings after backpackers, revellers trash Bronte Beach

A Sydney council mayor is threatening to impose limits on group gatherings after revellers left piles of rubbish at Bronte Beach on Christmas Day.

Hundreds of backpackers have been blamed for trashing Bronte Park, which is located right next to the summer hotspot, with shocking images of the mess shared to social media.

One resident on Monday morning took to Facebook group Bondi Local Loop to post photos of the junk left behind from the hours of partying.

Several images showed large amounts of rubbish, ranging from alcohol bottles and cans to personal items such as shoes, bags and picnic blankets scattered on the grass.

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Waverley Council Mayor Paula Masselos told Sky News Australia on Tuesday “several options” were being considered to ensure it does not happen again.

One of those is limiting the number of people allowed to gather in groups, with some reports suggesting thousands were in attendance at one point.

“Well… I have several options I’m considering but I really want to discuss it with our staff, rangers and police to see what is possible,” she said on First Edition.

“There are a number of options… which would possibly look at extra police and extra rangers but all of this actually costs quite a bit of additional money so we need to think it through very carefully.”

She stressed it was important public places such as Bronte Beach remained open for everyone to enjoy but it had to be family friendly and safe.

Sky News Australia host Gabriella Power questioned how the council would be able to police gatherings if it decided to put a limit on group numbers.

“These are all the things we need to think about, and we need to come up with strategies,” Ms Masselos said.

“The bigger concern is how do we ensure people can enjoy coming to Bronte from wherever, having a nice time, respecting our beautiful open spaces, respecting the community and respecting other beachgoers who are generally doing the right thing.”

She also flagged the gathering had likely come from Facebook, where an invitation or group event was created to draw in large groups to celebrate Christmas together.

The council mayor also pointed to safety as another concern.

Ms Masselos described Bronte Beach as “one of the most dangerous” along the East Coast and that could be compounded by needing to rescue drunk revellers in the surf.

“Having to put that additional impost on our lifeguards isn’t fair on people who want to come down and have a good time and feel safe,” she said.

Residents have been left “shattered” and “disappointed” by the act which has been labelled as “revolting” and showing “no respect”.

“Appalling, such a lack of respect, there should be fines enforced,” one said.

“How can people be this vile. People should be fined for trashing,” a third weighed in.

“It was awful this morning. There’ such a lack of respect for each other. The bins were intentionally thrown away,” one supposed local claimed.

Multiple videos posted to social media showed hundreds of revellers, mostly suspected to be backpackers, partying at the park from early afternoon to the evening.

Loud music could also be heard blaring throughout the Christmas festivities, with the partygoers seen dancing to mark the occasion.

Waverley Council on Christmas Eve reminded locals about alcohol being prohibited at its beaches, parks and other outdoor public spaces.

Council workers have since cleaned up the mess.

A similar incident occurred on Christmas Day in 2019 when rubbish and personal items were dumped at the park and on the beach.

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