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Swelling Underground Movement Against Bondi Car Park

By Marcus Braid on October 1, 2014 in News

Photo: Waverley Council

Photo: Waverley Council

The proposal for an underground car park at Bondi Beach is proving quite controversial, as Waverley Council closes its public consultation process for the long awaited Bondi Plan of Management.

Council has received feedback in its latest consultation with locals, which closed on September 14, and the proposal to build an underground car park at the rear of Bondi Pavilion appears divisive.

The draft plan of management proposes a 15 percent increase in recreation and green space, with a two to three-storey underground car park including a green roof.

Councillor Ingrid Strewe said she had not heard one good reason to build it.

“I don’t support it, basically on environmental grounds, but also on social grounds,” she said. “It’s going to cost over $20 million, we’re not going to end up with any more parking and you’re still going to have to have a road down the front for access for services. It’s not as if you’re going to get green [space] all the way to the walkway. There will be concrete anyway because of the pedestrian walkway below.”

Cr Strewe said the cost of the exercise would not be matched by the benefits.

“It would be unnecessary expenditure of money on an underground car park,” she said.

“Who would rather go to the beach and drive into a car park than go to the beach and drive to the waterfront?

“To spend $25 million on a car park that would be under the water table, you’re going to have to build a container to keep the water out. It’s going to cost a fortune. What are you going to get? The same number of cars apparently.”

A Facebook group has been established called ‘No Underground Car Park For Bondi Beach’, with 272 followers and commentary recommending against the proposal.

Delon Price of Bondi wrote: “I am an architect and a 17-year resident of Bondi, and a Waverley Council ratepayer. I say ‘hands off’… Traffic flow in and out of enclosed car parks is much slower than open ones, resulting in traffic back-ups, queues, and with this, increased parking stress and aggression.”

Lian Ellison echoed Mr Price’s sentiments, posting that the car park would result in “reduced amenity and a complete loss of way of life and culture for regular users, including individuals and clubs.”

Waverley Mayor Sally Betts clarified that it wasn’t yet established whether the proposal was feasible and that an investigation into the car park needed to take place.

“We put some money aside in 2015/16, which is a year away, to investigate it,” she said.

“It would be fantastic to have more green space, and if it was possible, to have an underground car park. It might be good because it would make Bondi Park bigger and it would be able to cope with more visitors.

“We’ve got to work out whether we can do it and how can we do it, then we’ll get some costings. We would probably want to talk to the State and Federal Government to see if they would help us.”

Cr Betts said many of the people opposing the car park could be satisfied by initiatives included in the plan of management.

“The people who are against us are mainly people who are the longboard riders, who like to sit in their cars and wax their boards, watching the waves,” she said.

“I’m sure we can accommodate them. Underneath Campbell Parade there are already some tunnels there. I am quite sure we could build a nice viewing platform for them.

“There are some mums who say they like watching their kids from the car. That’s fine. As lovely as that is, I am sure we could find a nice little place underneath to build a café kind of place so mums could sit out of the wind and sun and watch their kids.”

Council will consider all feedback received, and intends to finalise the Plan of Management later this year.