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Bondi Pavilion Restoration Project Edges Forward

By Siriol Dafydd (@sirioldafyddwriter) on January 25, 2019 in News

A rare aerial shot of the Bondi Pavilion back in 1940, by Bob Menzies

It’s slap-bang in the middle of Bondi Beach and has been for donkey’s years, but does anybody actually know what’s happening with the Bondi Pavilion these days?

For those of you who haven’t been following the Bondi Pavilion Restoration and Conservation Project so far, don’t expect to see any dramatic changes to the Bondi skyline or a state of the art monstrosity displacing the current building. Thankfully, this $25 million project will be upgrading the interior and improving the function of the building whilst simultaneously protecting and restoring the historical structure and iconic facade. Because, quite frankly, we need to keep at least some sense of authenticity in Bondi amidst the kale and kombucha.

The project has already gone through several consultations, various designs and has even birthed a Bondi Pavilion Stakeholder Committee to get to its current stage. It’s seen its fair share of setbacks, including the decision made at a council meeting in February 2018 to formally withdraw the Development Application for the Stage 1 upgrade (which was originally submitted back in March 2017).

Yes, it’s been a long and bumpy road but things are now starting to move forward. Following community feedback received in September last year, Council has now requested a number of revisions to the latest concept design. After taking into account the 111 survey responses and 568 email submissions received during the consultation period, Council endorsed several changes including the repositioning of the tourist centre to the north of the entrance foyer, relocating the lifeguards’ room on the ground floor to outside the pavilion and increasing the size of the amenities in the theatre green room.

In the latest revisions, Council also requested that all commercial tenancies be indicated as large ‘shell space’ to allow for small or large tenancies, and that a designated loading/unloading zone be included in the southern courtyard for major events and users of the High Tide Room, music studios, theatre and art gallery.

After months of the inevitable back and forth, community input and several revisions, Waverley Council is confident that the project is making good progress.

“This is a significant step forward in the Bondi Pavilion Restoration and Conservation Project and it is going to be an exciting year ahead,” Waverley Mayor John Wakefield said.

But don’t expect to see high-vis and hard hats just yet. Before any restoration or construction work can commence, Council must progress the revised concept design to the next stage of the process: detailed design. After this, locals will have another opportunity to provide input across 28 days once Council reaches the Development Application stage. There is no set date for this as of yet, but Council is aiming to have the DA documentation ready by early to mid 2019.

Admittedly, there is a bit of a way to go and there’s still plenty of time for another spanner in the works, but we’re taking a glass half full approach to this whole thing here at The Beast. With a bit of luck (and perhaps a few more months of red tape) the final plans should be in place and we might even see some actual construction before the end of the year.

As always, we’ll do our best to keep you in the loop as things progress. In the meantime, for up-to-date information on all the latest designs and details on how to have your say, please head to the Waverley Council website at www.waverley.nsw.gov.au.