City crush to ease as fun spreads out

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - AARON LANGMAID

MEL­BOURNE’S New Year’s Eve party will rock the city and the suburbs as thou­sands ring in 2019.

More than 350,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to flood the CBD, a num­ber sig­nif­i­cantly down on pre­vi­ous years as more rev­ellers opt to cel­e­brate at sub­ur­ban hotspots.

While fire­works will be launched from 22 city rooftops, cel­e­bra­tions will also roll out from Footscray Park to the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula.

Hav­ing lured more than half a mil­lion peo­ple for the mid­night en­ter­tain­ment in pre­vi­ous years, Mel­bourne City Coun­cil says the fore­cast drop isn’t due to safety con­cerns, but a strat­egy to dis­perse rev­eller num­bers across key sites.

Maribyrnong Coun­cil is among lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas hop­ing to ease the squeeze by host­ing an early fire­works event from 9.30pm at Footscray Park.

St Kilda Beach will be an­other hotspot, with au­thor­i­ties con­fi­dent there won’t be a re­peat of re­cent gang-re­lated vi­o­lence.

Of­fi­cers in the city have been granted power to con­duct on-thes­pot searches of par­ty­go­ers and ve­hi­cles in a de­clared zone stretch­ing from Dud­ley, Peel and Vic­to­ria streets to the north, and Do­main and St Kilda roads.

They will also be able to or­der some­one wear­ing a face cov­er­ing that con­ceals their iden­tity to leave the area if they refuse to re­move it.

Indige­nous rap artist Adam Briggs will pro­vide the sound­track for the city when the clock strikes mid­night.

The Shep­par­ton-born mu­si­cian’s tunes will echo across the CBD as Mel­bourne’s py­rotech­nic team gives Syd­ney’s spec­tac­u­lar a run for its money.

Else­where, more re­laxed cel­e­bra­tions are ex­pected at pop­u­lar tourist spots, in­clud­ing Wil­son’s Prom, the Surf Coast and the Mur­ray River.

Pub­lic trans­port will be free in Mel­bourne for 12 hours from 6pm, with night coach ser­vices also run­ning to re­gional cen­tres.

Weather bureau duty fore­caster Richard Rus­sell said mild weather was ex­pected.

“Vic­to­ria will ex­pe­ri­ence rel­a­tively clear con­di­tions, per­haps a cooler night on the coast,” he said.

Mel­bourne tem­per­a­tures are set to dip to a min­i­mum of 15C, while warmer con­di­tions are ex­pected in the state’s north.

Metropoli­tan Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices act­ing deputy chief of­fi­cer Adam Dal­rym­ple urged those ring­ing in the new year to stay safe.

“We want ev­ery­one to en­joy the fes­tiv­i­ties but also want to re­mind peo­ple that the choices you make can af­fect oth­ers around you,” Mr Dal­rym­ple said.

“Don’t be com­pla­cent as fires can and do hap­pen.”

Over the past two sum­mers, MFB fire­fight­ers have re­sponded to 32 fire­work-re­lated emer­gen­cies. Most were fires sparked by il­le­gal fire­works — al­most a third of the il­le­gal fire­work in­ci­dents MFB re­sponded to last year were caused by chil­dren.

“Fire­works should only be han­dled by a li­censed py­rotech­ni­cian,” Mr Dal­rym­ple said. “They can be dan­ger­ous and un­pre­dictable when not used prop­erly and can re­sult in grass fires, prop­erty dam­age, se­ri­ous burns and even death.

“The few sec­onds of fun are not worth it. In­stead, en­joy the many free and le­gal dis­plays be­ing held across the city and Vic­to­ria.”

OLYMPIA Valance has learnt the beauty of be­ing bold and is pledg­ing to con­tinue to take risks in the new year.The star said she had big plans for 2019, in­clud­ing a sec­ond sea­son of the show and a film role.“I feel like I got my groove back this year,” Valance said. “It was a big turn­ing point for my ca­reer. I feel great about 2018 but I am so ex­cited about 2019.”Valance was check­ing out the fi­nal prepa­ra­tions for the New Year’s Eve Se­cret Gar­den Rooftop Party at Crown Aviary yes­ter­day.She said those look­ing for a change in the new year should look within.“Trust your gut. I al­ways say your gut feel­ing is ac­tu­ally guardian an­gels putting you on the right path,” she said.“I have had some busi­ness ideas boil­ing and my plan is to bring them to life next year.” The Pop­pel clan (top) and other hol­i­day-mak­ers re­lax on the Lod­den River, at Bar­inghup, while Archer and Darby (far right) have of fun at Wil­sons Promon­tory. Pic­tures: ROB LEE­SON Olympia Valance is on top of the world at Crown. Pic­ture: NICKI CON­NOLLY

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