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Beachgoers Lose Vital Car Spots

By Duncan Horscroft on November 28, 2018 in News

Not the best timing, by James Hutton

It’s well known that parking is at a premium in and around the Bronte Beach precinct. On any good weekend the cafes are packed to the rafters and beachgoers flock to the area on a fine summer’s day.

But Waverley Council has added to the parking problem by undertaking a “three-month” pilot program that has taken out 20 car spaces in the Bronte Cutting to cater for the multitude of visitors using the coastal walk.

It seems the council is worried about the possible conflict between pedestrian traffic and vehicles, and has decided to go ahead with a trial by creating a thoroughfare from where the footpath ends in the cutting through to Calga Reserve.

But Council doesn’t seem overly concerned about the implementation of a 40km/h speed limit in the cutting by the RMS recently, with some councillors saying they knew nothing about it.

The elimination of the car spaces seems ridiculous as the trial began at the start of the surfing season in October, when hundreds of Nippers and their parents hit the sand every Sunday morning. If every car had two parents and two kids, an average of 80 people have now been effectively denied direct access to the beach.

One councillor suggested catching a bus would be a better alternative. That councillor obviously doesn’t have any idea what it’s like taking a tribe of kids to the beach with all their gear on public transport.

There are already six reserved spots for Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club permit holders. And the council has signed off on another three reserved spots at the top of the cutting, making a total of 29 car spaces unavailable to the public.

Why can’t these permits be valid anywhere in the cutting other than the reserved spots?

Bronte volunteer surf lifesavers who live outside the Waverley Municipality can now apply for a beach parking permit for $200 as a reward for their diligence. This effectively nullifies the need for reserved parking.

In October, Sculpture by the Sea attracts multitudes of visitors to the coastal walk and no one objects to extra room being made for pedestrian safety.

As the coastal walk was a Waverley Council initiative, why didn’t they provide relevant pedestrian access when it was built?

At the end of the footpath in the cutting there is a natural rock face into which steps could be easily cut. The steps would lead to a flat plateau at the top of the rock face and direct access in to Calga Reserve.

One argument put forward against this idea related to the lack of disabled access. Again, Council did not consider this when the coastal walk was built as there is no wheelchair access anywhere between Bronte and Clovelly, unless it is through Waverley Cemetery.

According to Waverley Council minutes, it will “consult with the community… and seek feedback on the pilot project.”

But the question that must be asked is why weren’t the community consulted prior to the initiation of the project?