THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ FOR BRONTE BEACH CAFESThey say a change is as good as a holiday, but there are some things that it’s fair to expect will always remain the same. You can presume that freshly baked bread will always smell delicious. If you cook, someone else has to wash up. And if you go for an early morning swim at Bronte Beach on a Sunday morning, there should always be a footpath table at one of the cafes waiting for you to sit down, read the paper, and watch the sun make its way up into the sky.
Unfortunately in the most recent changes to its Development Control Plans, which became effective on September 14 last year, Waverley Council has opted to change the time from which the cafes at Bronte beach are able to serve customers at their footpath seating on Sunday mornings from 7am to 8am.
While this may not seem like a huge difference, it benefits no one, but has proven to be a detrimental change to many of Bronte’s café owners, and to their early morning patrons.
“Sunday is a main trading day for our industry,” said Hannah Moore, who owns and operates the Bogey Hole Café at Bronte Beach.
“It is especially important that people within the area have access to the beach and cafes for a swim and coffee every day before the parking meters start, as we have some of the most expensive parking within the whole of Sydney.”
“Our DA is from 7am and has been for 24 years, since 1993. This change will mean more takeaway orders, meaning more takeaway cups, more landfill, more unhappy customers, not to mention people standing on the footpath waiting and causing footpath obstruction.”
Kim Muddle, owner of Café Salina, shared Ms. Moore’s view.
“It’s obvious the change doesn’t suit café owners as we will be losing part of our Sunday trade,” she said. “The early customers are locals so they are the ones we would be turning away.”
It’s not just the beachside cafes that will be affected by this shift either, although they arguably have the most to lose, considering the Sunday morning swim crowds.
The time shift is to be instigated at all cafes with footpath seating within the Waverley Municipality zoned ‘Neighbourhood Centre’, any ‘Medium Density Residential Zone’, and any ‘Low Density Residential Zone’ – so basically, everywhere.
The obvious question is: why? Council’s response has so far been that the amendments were made so as to bring Waverley Council’s provisions in line with those of the City of Sydney.
Ms. Moore has created an online petition to get Waverley Council to revert back to the old times – something that Council recommended she do if she wanted to effect a change.
Ms. Moore also noted that one counsellor, a local and a beach-goer, has also put in a motion to change the hours. By the time you read this article, we will hopefully know if the petition and/or motion has been successful.