City bans sleepovers

CAMPING out in cars in Vincent’s streets has been banned after backpackers ruined it for everyone with boozy, messy sleepouts.

More backpackers have been camping out on streets now that FIFOs have started filling up local hostels.

Mayor Alannah MacTiernan was unsure about the ban, saying she didn’t want the genuinely homeless to be targeted by rangers: “I am uncomfortable with this. Recently we had parked near us a young woman who had a small child with her.

“She wouldn’t have been there if she wasn’t desperate. These issues of homelessness do arise, or people escaping violent relationships.”

But Cr John Carey said “no-one is suggesting here that we should be targeting people in homelessness situations”.

“The majority of these offenders are backpackers who are coming in, blazing out, leaving booze bottles on the street.

“Some people may think [the ban is] being a little bit draconian but the feedback I’ve got from local residents is it is a problem.”

Cr Matt Buckels and Dudley Maier were against the plan. Cr Maier, who once lived in a squat in Canberra, said the council could look at programs to help backpackers. He wanted to consider letting them shower at Beatty Park for a small fee but acknowledged it’d be difficult.

Cr Buckels said he didn’t think people sleeping out in cars was a problem, and it helped prevent drink-driving: “My wife and I, the first night that we met properly, after having a few drinks we slept in my Datsun Sunny outside the tavern. I don’t know what would have happened to my relationship if I’d got a $150 fine.”

Mayor MacTiernan and Crs Carey, John Pintabona, Josh Topelberg and Julia Wilcox had the numbers to approve the ban.

by DAVID BELL

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