Sitting On The RSL Fence
Pearl has mixed feelings about the protest against the Bronte RSL development. Not one to shirk a passionate protest rally, I can’t help but look upon the protest with an uncomfortable feeling of cynicism. With a catch cry of “Save Bronte Village”, I am immediately tormented by visions of 4WDing yummy mummies with their organically indoctrinated kiddies, all looking to mould their little patch of the Eastern Suburbs into a gentrified utopian paradise, complete with dog poo and neighbourhood arguments over parking, DAs and noise.
The issues surrounding the development are unfortunately indicative of property developer greed and reflective of how gentrification destroys the “quaintness” that attracted affluent families to suburbs such as Bronte and Clovelly in the first place.
On one hand I want to give my overwhelming support to a protest against a development that contravenes the council’s height and density controls and will surely bring more affluent tossers into the area with their 4WDs and unquenchable thirst for trendy cafes, botox and baby stores. I’m prepared to take a stand against the greed of developers looking to take advantage of yet another RSL club on the brink of financial ruin whilst maximimising their profits at the expense of the community by providing inadequate customer parking and loading spaces. Just look at the horrendous traffic mess created by Westfield Bondi Junction, a mess that was approved by a council that knows all too well that yuppies don’t walk anywhere, let alone lower themselves to taking public transport.
On the other hand I cannot support any protest associated with the mythical “village” people, those bright young newcomers with their fashionably clad children who are educated and affluent enough to know that spray tan clinics, furniture stores, coffee emporiums and stylish baby stores are far more essential to their families’ lifestyles than butchers, delis, traditional bakeries and greengrocers. Those people who, up until now, probably viewed the RSL as an eyesore. And those same people who drive 300 metres to take their kids to school and park dangerously in side streets yet have no qualms complaining about the development’s potential traffic chaos and the danger it poses to their children.
The hypocrites, who have ensured that Clovelly and Bronte no longer have essential services, now think they can deny people like Pearl the convenience of walking to a greengrocer because it doesn’t suit their agenda, an agenda that involves patronising Westfield for groceries whilst leaving CloBaby Road and Macpherson Street free for cafe outings, trendy shopping and beauty therapies.
I’m one hundred percent sure that those yummy mummies protesting against the development will forget what they got all worked up about once Harris Farm starts stocking gourmet organic food and a baby store and homeopath are slipped in as the new building’s other tenants. And wouldn’t a unit in the development be a wonderful investment for Kalahari’s future?
So sweeties, I’m on the fence with this protest. I’d love the RSL converted into low cost housing or a retirement village, complete with a Maloney’s style greengrocer. And I’d love to see the yuppie “villagers” put the same passion and gusto behind a protest against the sale of bottled water in the Eastern Suburbs, although I know that no yuppie is complete without a bottle of Fiji Water in their trendy baby bag!