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Pavilion Restoration Begins as Union Green Ban Lifted

By Nicola Smith on June 26, 2020 in News

Beware of falling coconuts. Photo: Danny Greenban

After years of planning and countless delays, Waverley Council has announced that construction work to restore and conserve Bondi Pavilion will begin in June. This follows the approval of the Development Application in December 2019.
Plans to upgrade the Pavilion began in 2015, however, a ‘green ban’ from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) prevented works continuing from 2016 through to May 2020.
A green ban is a form of strike action whereby an organised labour group refuses to work on a project for environmentalist or conservationist purposes. Previous proposals for developing the Pavilion drew criticism from the community for valuing commercial interests over those of the local community.
In response to the green ban, Waverley Council formed a stakeholder committee in 2017 to explore community interests and needs, as well as developing the Bondi Pavilion Conservation Management Plan in 2018.
The CFMEU lifted the ban in the belief that the latest plan will preserve the Pavilion for the community. NSW CFMEU secretary Darren Greenfield said the green ban was an effort to keep Bondi Pavilion as a public, community space.
“We are proud to have been involved in this struggle to keep Bondi Pavilion in public hands and can officially announce a lifting of the green ban,” Mr Greenfield told The Beast.
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said that the final design was achieved through community consultation.
“The community told us loud and clear that they wanted to retain the Pavilion as a community and cultural hub. Council has listened. The Bondi Pavilion Restoration and Conservation Project ensures the Pavilion will continue to be used and loved for generations to come,” Mayor Masselos said.
The final plans for the restoration were designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects and will preserve community spaces such as art galleries, radio studios and education rooms.
The current Pavilion was built in 1928 and has been a centrepiece of the Bondi community for over 90 years. Throughout its rich history it has hosted Turkish baths, amusement parlours, theatre groups, restaurants and was even requisitioned as an American Red Cross officers’ club in 1944. It was heritage listed on the register of the National Estate in 1993.
The new conservation project will deliver renovated community spaces, family change rooms and improved amenities, a new art gallery and theatre, flexible education spaces and a new indigenous public artwork, among other things.
The balance between community and commercial interests is a hard one to strike, with many of the Pavilion’s coveted commercial spaces currently occupied by local favourites including The Bucket List with its iconic ‘fishbowl’ bar. Part of the proposed renovation under the Bondi Pavilion Conservation Management Plan is the removal of the glass fishbowl bar, as it is considered an “intrusive heritage element” under the plan.
The restoration is predicted to take 18 months. The Pavilion itself, and the businesses operating within it (except Surfish), will be closed during this time.
The Bucket List, Lush on Bondi and the Pavilion itself were closed in March due to COVID-19 restrictions. Existing tenants in Bondi Pavilion are not guaranteed tenancies in the new Pavilion space but will be invited to compete with other commercial tenders for tenancies once the restoration is complete.