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Controversial Beach Club Would Shift the Sands of Bondi

By Duncan Horscroft on May 24, 2021 in News

Are you kidding? Photo: Ralph Lauren

The Amalfi Coast, a spectacular stretch of coastline listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the southern Italian province of Salerno. It lies over 16,000 kilometres from Bondi Beach, which is listed as a National Surfing Reserve.
But there are plans afoot to turn a piece of Bondi Beach into a European-style beach club for people to sip cocktails in cabanas on a 320m2 section of the sand, which would be cordoned off for 100 guests over a two-hour period.
Waverley Council knocked back an initial proposal for the Amalfi Beach Club back in May last year. Now it is looking at a new proposal, although it is yet to receive a revamped draft development application.
The man behind the plan is former lawyer and Bondi resident Janek Gazecki, who claims he has received death threats over the proposed beach club.
It has been reported that Mr Gazecki has dismissed claims that the venue would be exclusive and would only cater for the rich and famous, and that as there was already a day bed hire service on the beach taking up space on the sand, he couldn’t see the problem with providing another similar service with food and drink included.
A post on the club’s Facebook page says, “The Mediterranean design celebrates the heritage of Bondi Beach by paying tribute to our very own Pavilion, also inspired by inter-war Italian architecture, while complimenting the sandstone hues of Bondi’s headlands.”
The Bondi Pavilion is undergoing a multi-million dollar facelift and there are four shop spaces out for tender, which could result in another restaurant and bar in the vicinity.
Waverley Council said there has been no formal application lodged for the club and said it has to remain “open-minded” about the plan, as the initial decision over whether a development application would be allowed will be made by the State Planning Minister Rob Stokes because the beach is Crown land.
Mr Stokes made it quite clear last year that he is opposed to the plan.
“My previous views about this kind of proposal remain unchanged and I will step in to stop a proposal to carve off part of the beach for private use,” he said in one media report. “Our beaches are for everyone, and should be free.”
There has been a major groundswell on social media opposing the proposal, including the Facebook group ‘We Oppose Amalfi Beach Club – Action Group’ which now has over 1600 members.
Locals are passionate about their beach and feel the club would be a major intrusion on public space that is regularly used by the likes of those who run on the soft sand around the proposed area as part of their fitness regime.
The Beast would like to see European beach clubs left in Europe and have our iconic beaches preserved for locals and visitors to enjoy in their natural state.