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Letters August 2017

By The People of the Eastern Suburbs on August 14, 2017 in Other

Illustration: Dalton Wills

Hi Dan and James,
I am part of a community organisation known as Blue Bondi Green. Our objective was to have the Bondi Beach business district free of lightweight, supermarket type plastic bags by the end of last year. Of the 75 businesses I visited, 22 were plastic bag free already. Some businesses had a mix of paper and plastic bags. But 50 per cent of businesses gave out single use plastic bags as the only alternative. None of the businesses I talked to intended to change, despite my pointing out the problems of plastic.

I was disheartened by these encounters and am now feeling that the only way Bondi Beach will become plastic bag free is to have legislative change through the NSW parliament. Three states and the two territories have already achieved this. It is now time for NSW to do the same.
Anne McArthur, Bronte

I was bitterly disappointed Dining Dave missed the opportunity to deliver the triumvirate of fine dining vernacular when reviewing his meal at the Charo (The Beast, July 2017). While managing to deploy the “different elements on each plate” staple, a liberal sprinkling of “caramelized” and “if I don’t get this right I’ll be going home today” would have delighted the breathlessly awaiting foodie readership, this writer included. All I can say is I hope Dave doesn’t have MasterChef aspirations; at this rate he would be going home after the first entree.
David Beins, Randwick

I have no idea why Martha Birch stated: “I am still upset by this and will take it further with the Council” (De-clutter Your life, Letters, The Beast, July 2017). It has absolutely nothing to do with the Council what people actually put out on the kerb on clean-up days.

It is the total irresponsibility of residents, as Martha rightly states, “who are too busy/lazy to find a better place to take their unwanted belongings”.

The council does a commendable job providing free biannual clean ups; it is not the responsibility of the drivers and off-siders to have to pick through lazy people’s rubbish.
Leeanna, Maroubra

Hello again,
I was reading in the Letters section about Martha Birch and her letter titled ‘De-clutter Your life’. She was writing about how she saw some household items – furniture, etc. – go into a Randwick City Council clean-up truck. Martha was pretty upset at the thought of everything going to landfill, and she was going to talk to Council about it. Well Martha, as you said, the responsibility lies with society and not Randwick Council, or any other council that does on-call clean-ups.

The on-call clean-up is a service run by Council to allow household items to be collected. Some items, such as mattresses, are actually reused, but most stuff gets crushed and goes to landfill. Now it is not Council at fault, as even if some of the items collected go to a recycling centre it would be pretty full, as many things get collected on a daily occurrence. Some charities don’t want ‘older’, ‘rundown’ items anymore; they want the good stuff so they can sell it. So no matter what, we are a wasteful society and Council can only do so much to discourage dumped and illegal items, which is why on-call clean-ups are so successful – even though some people are too lazy to organise one and just dump household goods on a nature strip and expect Council to pick them up.

There has to be another way of allowing better use of items that are no longer wanted. But as society wants new and better things, what are the solutions? Maybe Martha has some she could tell Randwick Council?
Thank you.
Anna Cook, Maroubra

What qualifications does Nat Shepherd have to advise on naming your baby? If you have a kid, name it what you want!
Michael Hunt, Bondi Junction

I just want to say I love your magazine. However, it upsets me when you have your photos of locals and I read they grew up overseas or interstate, but now because they reside in our wonderful suburb that makes them a local.

I have lived here all my life. I would love to see the ‘real locals’ in your magazine. I’m sure they are not too hard to find.
Kind regards,
Kerri Dresser, North Bondi

In response to Jason’s letter, ‘Abandoned Vehicle Nuisance’ (Letters, The Beast, July 2017), I agree with him and also live in North Bondi where sometimes I feel our streets must be listed on an ‘ideal spot to dump your car’ list. Recently we’ve had six abandoned vehicles within a 500-metre radius, taking up valuable parking spots in an area that is not restricted, so the dumped vehicle won’t even receive a parking fine!

I agree that the authorities should do more. A $550 fine seems a rather cheap option to pay than having to go through the proper channels of disposing a vehicle legally. Plus the unrestricted areas of Bondi attract opportunities to dump vehicles.
I believe the fines should be in the thousands to deter abandoning vehicles, all Bondi’s streets should be restricted, and multiple fines should be able to be issued and allowed to pile up on the vehicle. Most of all, though, Council should remove them ASAP. I know of one vehicle on Hall Street that has been there for a year, even with the council sticker on it.

To report vehicles you need to check the rego end date. I use the Service NSW app where you enter the rego and it tells you the end date. Most other states have a similar app or website – they’re all on the front page of my phone! I then take a pic of the vehicle, note the street address location it is dumped, email customerservice@waverley.nsw.gov.au with ‘Abandoned Vehicle’ in the subject, and send them the details. Council then action this and go through their costly, laborious, and bureaucratic process of notifying the owners – blah, blah, blah. Then I chase them up regularly by forwarding that email.

The other issue is that then sometimes the tow trucks removing the vehicles can’t get access to remove the vehicle, so it can stay there even longer. But the sooner they are reported the better – although some people dump their cars six months before rego is up.

It’s a very frustrating issue we have in this area that has a major impact on availability of parking for those of us living here. The fact we live in a society where we are affluent enough to simply throw away cars like they are rubbish is just another blot on the state of our society today.
Louise, North Bondi

To Entertainment Quarter Centre Management,
As a former local near EQ in Paddington for 14 years with four children, I have a long history with your space and its numerous facilities. Even now as Glebe residents we find ourselves there frequently. Although we have literally spent hundreds of hours at nearly every event and in every area of entertainment, there is one place in particular that we go for – and that is Plaster Painting Studios.

Yes, we see movies, go to the markets, jump on the bungy trampolines, eat at the restaurants, take the kids to classes at AFTRS/Brent Street for school holiday programs, and play laser tag, but these are add-ons to the main event of ‘painting a statue’. Often we just go there for the zen, peaceful joy of plaster of Paris decorating (although we always end up buying muffins and sushi, or rollerblades, etc.).

Today one of my girls was on school holidays (the only one this year in private school, so the other three are still in classes) and her first request for an activity was to paint a statue. It was, as always, a lovely two hours. I was extremely saddened to hear whilst there that due to some exciting upcoming renovations at EQ we may lose access to this wonderful activity. 

I am writing today to ask you to please not underestimate how much the local population loves this venue. Everyone knows about it, everyone loves it. It is a peaceful and communication-provoking activity to do with your children, making it unique and priceless. There is nothing like it anywhere else nearby. What a loss for the community and children to make the terms of it being a feasible business too difficult for it to stay open, or to tuck it away where passing traffic won’t give it the extra business it needs to be profitable. 

To be honest, no matter how incredible EQ looks after its future gentrification, I can’t imagine you’d see much of this family of six and the thousands of dollars we spend there every year if this place was no longer there. There are great restaurants, cinemas, markets, and bowling alleys all over Sydney – there is only one statue painting shop. I know so many other people who, like me, spend a lot of time at EQ especially for Plaster Painting Studios, and then do add-on activities. I dearly hope you prioritise this over profit margin as you consider the new look of the EQ. 

Thank you and good luck with the renovations.
Tindal Magnus, 
General Manager, Amplexa Medical Consulting

Dear Editor
Mr. Worssam’s opposition to extra green space at Bondi Beach is by now well known to regular readers of The Beast Letters pages. Unable to argue his case on its merits, Mr. Worssam now resorts to snooping through Australian Electoral Commission files to check the voting record of an opposing letter writer?! (Fake News, Fake People, Letters, The Beast, July 2017) Oh dear. How sad!

It’s also curious that Mr. Maidment should quote extensively from the GTA consultants’ report to argue against relocating the car park underground (The Car park Debate Continues, Letters, The Beast, July 2017). It’s a bit like a turkey extolling the virtues of the traditional Christmas lunch! That’s because this report strongly advocates putting the Bondi Beach car park underground to create extra green space above!

It’s a shame Mr. Maidment didn’t share that with the readers!
Yours sincerely,
Alan Doyle, Bellevue Hill

Well don’t feel too bad if you missed another piece of local government news, especially with all that weaving and ducking going on as to whether Randwick would amalgamate with Waverley, or whether Woollahra will be swallowed into the ‘beach bogan’ fraternity or stand forever on its own ‘blue ribbon’ feet!

As Randwick decides to get on the legal appeal merry-go-round with Woollahra, the aforementioned Woollahra waits for its appeal day in the High Court, and poor Sally Betts from Waverley has her own local battle going on around meeting conducts and pavilions, Team Gladys and local Minister for Everything Gabby Upton want all of those pesky unamalgamated councils and their democratically traumatised residents to go to the polls on Saturday, September 9.

So were you in the know, or did that compulsory day of voting miss out on being included in your very busy social calendar of shipping youngsters from soccer to ballet and their best friend’s play-dates?

While you’re not supposed to dodge this very important day for democracy across the Eastern Suburbs, at least two of the hapless local councils (Randwick and Waverley) are holding family and environmentally friendly events that may help you survive your September 9 play-date with Team Gladys and her local government cohorts!

Of course we speak of Randwick Council’s annual flagship environmental event, the Eco Living Fair, now running in its twelfth or thirteenth year, depending on whether you count the year it was blown south by the cold blasts from Antarctica. Thousands of residents, from not only the Eastern Suburbs, but Inner West and seedy south, will descend on the normally tame ‘village green’ of the Randwick Community Centre for a very full day of presentations, demonstrations, workshops, and stalls on all things sustainable and environmental!

There will be kids entertainment and live shows with reptiles and birds, electric cars on display, solar panels galore, free trees given away, and tastings of locally harvested honey, seed collections, pickles, and pizza. Expect food trucks aplenty (all environmentally sound of course), and amidst the parking for cars you’ll be able to safely and smoothly ride your bicycle to the event (and park in the bike valet area) or catch the free shuttle bus from pick-up points across Randwick’s fair city.

This year, as at last year’s event, there are special sustainability ‘speed dating’ sessions for residents to ask all the technical questions they can on making their house, semi, or unit more energy conscious and environmentally comfortable. Plus it’s all free, on Father’s Day – somewhere free and local to take your dad before he’s off to the polling booth the following weekend!

But there’s more to get you over those polling day blues and compulsory voting for local councillors you’ve never heard of and who may not be there by next winter if Team Gladys and her prickly crew of Macquarie Street pollies have their way on amalgamation (but not very likely now according to all those ‘flies on walls’!).

The Sunday after local council elections you can all get along to Bondi Beach for the very beautiful and spectacular Festival of the Winds!

Hot air or not, the skies will be riddled with colours and waving fabric as Waverley Council brings you an event that is even more free than their other wonderful big event in October, Sculptures by the Sea. What better way to shake off the polling place blues than to sit or stand on the grass overlooking beautiful Bondi, and let the soaring of kites of every size imaginable lift up your heart and mind and prepare you for the next round of councillors trying to knock the wind out of their colleague’s sails once those election day results are known to all.

Oh the joys of local democracy (challenged by the omnivorous presence of state politicians just waiting to send them off to the administrator’s sin-bin!).

Stay tuned, as mayoral elections will probably be just ahead of our wonderful Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. Perhaps Gladys and Gabby may want to bronze a few redundant local councillors and enter them as sculptural caricatures of local democracy as it used to be?
Pierre ler Stroganov, Randwick



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