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No Stamp of Approval for Bondi Post Office

By Duncan Horscroft on March 2, 2018 in News

You can’t stop ‘progress’, by Smart Design Studio.

According to the NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage, the Bondi Beach Post Office is a “fine local example of an Inter-War Stripped Classical style public building” and, they say, “intact period buildings are now rare for this locality”.
Despite the historic significance of this “1920s Classical Revival style public building,” it seems the government were more than happy to let Australia Post offload this valuable community asset to a private developer.
Australia Post sold the building more than two years ago under an option agreement to Jamie Nemtsas, who then onsold the property to Taylor Constructions for around $15 million.
But the site is still owned by Australia Post as the option to purchase stands pending the approval of the DA, which has earmarked the site for a five-storey apartment block with a restaurant downstairs and no plans for another postal facility.
Lenore Kulakauskas, head of the local precinct committee, said Australia Post are “strongly saying” the post office will be there for another 10 years due to their leasing agreement.
“But if the option is taken up after the DA is approved they said it will be a priority for them to find another space for a post office,” she said.
“Where do they think they are going to find a suitable location for another post office in Bondi?
“We would like to know what part the government is playing in this as they are selling our land and that certainly doesn’t benefit the community.
“We have sent our objections to the ministers and to Malcolm Turnbull but no one has bothered getting back to us yet.”
The post office plays a vital role in the Bondi area, providing a much-needed facility for local businesses and for the thousands of backpackers who frequent the area over the summer months. It is also a favourite meeting place for locals with outdoor seating and shade trees.
Waverley Mayor John Wakefield said the level of concern about the pending development had been enormous from the community, and that it was “extremely difficult” getting an explanation from Australia Post about what is going on.
“I have written to Malcolm Turnbull because this is his area,” he said.
“And you have to remember he was the Communications Minister when Australia Post was taken from the government and became private enterprise.
“Even though Australia Post is no longer a government department, it is still effectively owned by the government and Council wants an explanation about what’s going on.”
If a DA is not signed off by council within 40 days the developer can take the matter to an independent panel which, ironically, is made up of State Government-appointed people who are also involved in the property industry. And if no decision is reached it will then end up in the Land and Environment Court.
“The level of community concern over this matter is enormous and it is the biggest single development issue confronting council,” Cr Wakefield said.
“And as we now have no say in development matters it is entirely up to strong opposition from the local community.”