The Beast’s Monthly Mailbag
A Message from Our Mayor
I am aware that there is anger in the community about the approval last month of a Woolworths Metro outlet at the site of the former Bronte RSL Club.
Many residents have been clear in their view that a Woolworths outlet is not the right fit for the site or the neighbourhood. I firmly agree with this view and am very concerned about preserving and protecting the ongoing vibrancy of our beautiful and popular Bronte village.
I must however stress that the decision to approve the DA was made by the Waverley Local Planning Panel and not by the council. The panel is made up of a pool of planning experts, independent of the council, who meet monthly. Councillors are no longer involved in the decision-making process for determining DAs referred to the panel.
The panel determines only those applications required under legislation including sensitive developments and developments which have a significant number (ten or more) unique objections.
I have been advised that the panel followed all due process and in accordance with planning laws, the Local Environmental Plan and the Development Control Plan when assessing the Woolworths application.
I reiterate that councillors were not involved the decision-making process.
I am very concerned to ensure the vitality of our neighbourhood centres are preserved as they are important anchors for our community connectedness. To put forward your ideas about how we can preserve the vibrancy of our neighbourhood centres, I urge everyone to make a submission about our Shape Your Villages By the Sea strategy, which is aimed at providing a shared vision for the future of our villages and is currently open for exhibition. For more, visit: www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/building/major_projects/strategy/help_shape_the_future_of_waverley.
Mayor of Waverley
Editorial Comments Cannot be True
Dear James – I feel that I must call you out over comments in the May edition (Thumbs, The Beast, May 2020). You made the following statement: “Apart from the Ruby Princess debacle and the failure to close our borders earlier, particularly to US arrivals, the response from all levels of government has been amazing – it had to be.”
Firstly, why would closing borders to the USA be the most pressing issue? Surely China would win that one hands down. As for closing borders to flights in general, it never happened and still flights land and take off for all destinations worldwide. I only arrived in Sydney at the end of January and so I have followed this quite closely. Many flights from China continued to arrive after the politicians said otherwise. Anyone can monitor the number of flights arriving at an airport as well as their ports of origin.
Another area where government has not done a good job is with the schools. There was a completely ambiguous message on schools. While suggesting that kids should stay at home they emphasised that schools would stay open. I believe that kind of indecision has confused many parents. Your editorial seems to be blaming the USA for the pandemic and claiming Australian authorities have done a great job, when neither is the case.
Funny and Heartfelt
Hi James – Sorry if this is a bit weird but just wanted to email to say I really liked your opening of The Beast’s May 2020 edition, titled Last Mag Standing. It was funny and heartfelt and cheered me up. Stay safe,
I recall reading previously that Sydney recycles something like 2.5 per cent of its rainfall. Then in the Randwick City Council What’s On section of a previous issue of The Beast I noted mention that “Randwick Council has 9,540 stormwater pipes!” With so many pipes, and this is just one council, shouldn’t we be putting more resources into ensuring these pipes form an improved infrastructure that significantly increases the woefully low percentage of our rainfall that is currently recycled?
Dear James – I’m writing about the Centennial Park mountain bike park article on page 35 of your May 2020 edition (Centennial Park to Host New Mountain Bike Trails, The Beast, May 2020). I’m sad and disappointed that it’s not real. I’m beyond embarassed by the number of people I excitedly told about this awesome development prior to reading the author’s details. Think I’ll just go self-isolate for a while longer…
Hi – I feel very deeply shocked and offended by the recent article I just read in your magazine, OMG. Beach, Please. WTF? (The Beast, May 2020 Edition). Could you please explain what is the purpose of that article? It is very sexist, giving an opinion on what women should wear at the beach!
What reaction do you think this kind of article will create against women? Some women might get bullied at the beach now because someone is going to give his opinion about the size of her bikini. Even if this was meant to be a joke this was not funny or smart. I hope you will apologise to all women next month, we are in a free country with equal rights between men and women!
Thank you. For keeping this going, keeping people in work, giving us a distraction. Excellent writing, beautiful presentation (if ever you need an editor, I’d be honoured) and something cheerful in our mailboxes. Thanks again, especially after all you’ve been through in the last few years. Bless you all.
Vinnies Charing Cross
Morning James – Just a brief letter to the editor, or rant at the editor (sorry), or whatever, regarding the Vinnies at Charing Cross. Here are some photos I took this morning outside Vinnies (9.15am Monday, April 6).
I’m not sure if you have ever covered this in an issue before but this is disgraceful. Who are these people dumping their junk? How can they think this is ok? What needs to happen for this to stop? A vigilante group sitting in front of the store every night to shame those who are dumping? I’d be up for that, any joiners?
This happens regularly but it’s been worse the past week or so given isolation probably has everyone clearing out their home. For the record, this Vinnies is actually closed and they have signs out the front asking for junk not to be left in the street and even provide information as to where to deliver donations.
I’m not sure how you can include this in next month’s edition but if you had a way it would be awesome to raise this issue.
I have recently become acutely aware of a new concern that people are experiencing lately. In this time of pandemic and isolation in our glorious early autumn, with its amazing blue skies and clear air, it’s no surprise many folks are taking their exercise along the promenade at Bondi Beach. With tourists virtually gone, and locals staying local, the beach may be empty but the pedestrian path along the beachfront is nevertheless getting a hammering.
When navigating through a populated pathway, most people have adopted the ‘swerve’ technique of passing oncoming foot traffic, allowing a nice wide berth and observing physical distancing practices. It’s considerate. But somehow joggers seem to be in a class of their own, apparently without the same guidelines for maintaining space as the rest of us. Not all of them, of course, but those that are appear to just set their course and nothing will budge them from it. In the old days, this would probably go unnoticed, but now, in light of the fact they are breathing heavily – panting, actually – it is most disconcerting to be caught in the cross wind with them bearing down on you. More than disconcerting, it’s just not cool.
So, hey joggers, keep in mind there are other people out there trying to take their exercise too. Every person using the streets, parks and footpaths is taking their precious 30 minutes and hopes and expects not to be endangered by the spray issuing from the open mouth of a running enthusiast (check out emerging science on this breath spray phenomenon). Please allow the necessary space, and maybe could you close your mouth when you pass the rest of us? Thanks.
Corona and a Russian Prince in Coogee
Remoteness may have saved Australians once again from disaster, this time from an infectious virus. By early May, the Coronavirus had infected only a small proportion of the Australian population. A key number measures ‘Death/1M pop’, fatalities per one million people, i.e. how many people have died as a proportion of an overall population. At the beginning of May, it was 600 for front-runner Belgium, 300 for the UK, 170 for the USA and just 3 for Australia. Compared to these countries, Australia lost a very tiny proportion of its people.
At the same time, the corona crisis had lowered global oil prices and a Mercedes-Benz-driving anarchist from Coogee got Premium 95 at his favourite petrol station in sweet Marrickville for just 96 cents a litre. Meanwhile, the inner-Coogee lefty was able to see Bondi on his regular coastal walk because air pollution (a global killer) had gone down dramatically. Almost no aircraft were flying, big trucks had disappeared, most car traffic was gone and not even the mums were driving their kids to school in their ‘urban assault vehicles’ (euphemistically called SUVs) .
Also, core neoliberal ideologies were shredded and people let go of the egoistic ‘greed is good’ trap of outright selfishness. Instead, when we were running low on toilet paper, three of our neighbours helped. Other neighbours organised a street party (don’t tell the council!) where everyone sat on their front lawns eating and drinking while a barbecue was wheeled onto the street and fired up. Kids played happily, with everyone keeping the 1.5 metre distance from each other, of course. Under coronavirus, Australians put the senseless rat race aside, knowing that even if you win it, you will still be a rat!
Some might even have rediscovered the eternal human beauty of Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid and found that help, solidarity and cooperation – not relentless competition – is what makes us human. The inner-Coogee lefty strikes again!
Slow Torture by Skateboard
Dear Beast – COVID-19 stay-ins are daily, longing for lunchtime, dinnertime or the divine intervention of a melodious Mr Whippy van, when the arbitrary, relentless, torturous clattering, banging and scraping of unsupervised kids playing for hours on skateboards in the streets will stop, albeit briefly. Even a break in the glorious autumn weather would be welcome, when wet rainy days will provide sweet relief from non-stop skating racket.
Ramps manufactured by children with chuck-out finds or hastily nailed together by Dad or Mum make the situation worse, and lack of social distancing and respect for parked cars and the dangers of passing vehicles make for a precarious situation. The incessant noise very disrespectfully disturbs sleeping bubs, napping adults, the elderly and sick, those working from home and precious weekend sleep-ins, and sparks fits of frantic barking by otherwise docile dogs. In fact noisy street skating disturbs just about everyone within earshot during this crisis.
While on a call to colleagues, they remarked they could hear skateboards clattering – from Canberra! A fan of a board – any type of board – I am, and always will be. A fan of skateboards clattering on suburban streets and footpaths for hours and hours, especially when most people are doing the right thing – staying home trying to preserve serenity and sanity – the community is not.