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No Closure on Umbrella Opening

By Duncan Horscroft on May 10, 2016 in News

Photo: Dan Hutton

Photo: Dan Hutton

How many council workers does it take to put up an umbrella? The answer is none if the two new parasols down at Bronte Beach are involved.

These two mini-monoliths have stood tall in the ‘cubes’ for a few months now, but a grand opening has yet to eventuate.
After waiting for a few weeks for the holes to be dug the day of reckoning came when one of the umbrellas was singled out for a test run.

One of the first problems to be unveiled was the fact that no one was tall enough to remove the cover. One of the local parkies had to stand on his quad bike to reveal what was lurking beneath the plastic shell.

Without proper support, it is unclear who is going to be responsible for removing the covers from the large brollies, as it is clearly an OH&S issue that has to be dealt with before progressing any further.

Anyway, once the cover was off, it was decided to let the structure spread its wings.

The operating device to open the umbrella was a long bar with a handle on it. In theory it meant the operator just had to push down on the handle and… voila!

But this was not to be. After a few tries it required the assistance of one of the local lifeguards who, with both feet off the ground, managed to pop the seal and unfurl the canopy.

Problem number two was that if it required the brute strength of a hefty lifeguard to open the brolly, how could it be possible for someone not quite so strong?

It was decided by the powers to be that the two umbrellas would have to be returned to the manufacturer to be fitted with a winding device similar to what many other outdoor umbrellas have.

The total cost for the installation and supply of the umbrellas was reportedly $30,000, so you’d think that some research would have been done prior to this.

Surely those in the brains trust would have given one a test run before making the purchase? Why wouldn’t a sail similar to the one over the kids’ park have come into consideration?

And another thing: it doesn’t seem any thought went into the positioning of the parasols, as the shade does not come into play until mid-afternoon in the warmer months. For most of the morning the area beneath the brollies is in direct sunlight.

So, for now (before going to press), the two plastic pillars continue to stand alone to battle the elements before a solution is found to set them free.