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Bronte Surf Club Development Creates Plenty of Ground Swell

By Duncan Horscroft on June 23, 2020 in News

Bronte Surfer Matthew ‘Dribbles’ Clements and friends in The Cubes 1979. Photo: Cora Bezemer

There is a massive storm brewing at Bronte Beach as waves of discontent wash upon the shore in response to the proposed $9 million plus development of the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club.
Some members of the community are outraged at the possibility of a massive structure on the beachfront and are asking questions as to why it should be so big when the initial footprint of the building would suffice.
Not many would argue that the surf club doesn’t need a total revamp as the current building is crumbling from concrete cancer, but if the initial proposal was to go ahead it would result in the loss of hundreds of square metres of public space and green space.
As the project is only a concept design at this stage, it is not a given that the project will go ahead under its current plan and Waverley Council is looking at the results of community consultation which ended on June 3.
According to Council, nearly 80 per cent of people who responded to the first round of consultation believed it was necessary that the new building be “sustainable, integrates and highlights the natural environment and uses durable materials”. Some are arguing the necessity of removing natural parkland to provide public change rooms and toilets, and include facilities to house council workers, which would involve the relocation of two existing huts, a barbecue and four Norfolk Island pines.
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said Council will now review the feedback for the consultation, “which will help inform a more detailed proposal”.
She said once a development application (DA) is lodged, another round of detailed consultation will be held with the community.
“Councillors will consider feedback received on the preliminary concept design, along with officer advice, and direct which concerns need to be addressed,” Cr Masselos told The Beast.
“There will likely be adjustments to the preliminary concept design as we progress to DA stage.”
“We have not committed to any timings around when Council will lodge a DA as we are still in the early design stages and listening to the community.”
One of the main contentions is that most people don’t understand the plans and sketches provided on the concept design.
“Most people look at the artist’s impression and say, ‘That looks nice, much better than what’s there now,’ without understanding or being able to visualise that it’s actually 508sqm bigger,” local resident Sandy Bruns said.
“Most people don’t look beyond the artist’s impression and see there’s a second building. I know this because I’m spending time down there talking to locals who are mostly horrified when I explain it to them.”
“We need to physically see the scope of what has been proposed. The artist’s impression is misleading and the sketches are inconclusive.”
But Cr Masselos reassured The Beast that this is not the final design as they were still in the early stages and listening to the community.
“Community feedback will inform the design that finally progresses to the DA stage,” she said.
The Bronte Surf Life Saving Club was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.