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Letter Of The Month- Planning For Bondi’s Future

By Bronwyn Kelly- Director Corporate & Technical Services, Waverley Council on September 4, 2013 in Other

letter-of-the-month-bondi-1924I am writing in response to a letter published in The Beast’s August edition about Council’s plans for Bondi.

I would like to thank ‘Beto’ for understanding that what we are wanting to do through the Bondi Plan of Management is to improve and expand the existing facilities at our iconic beach, park and pavilion. And of course, the very reason that we are doing this is because people have asked us to!

The first stage of community consultation in late 2012 resulted in over 1000 people giving us their views at consultation evenings, Have A Say days, precinct meetings, and stakeholder meetings.

The sorts of things people asked us to do have included providing a more accessible walk from the beach to the coastal walk, reopening the back of the pavilion and making Queen Elizabeth Drive safer for pedestrians.

Trying to meet the requests of hundreds of people has been a complex matter, but we are definitely doing our best to incorporate as much of the feedback and suggestions as we possibly can.

Earlier in 2013, Council released draft directions for the future plan for Bondi Beach, Bondi Park and Bondi Pavilion, which were then opened up for a second round of consultation.

The draft directions for Bondi Park, Bondi Beach and Bondi Pavilion have absolutely nothing to do with the Swiss Grand Hotel, and have never included suggestions for an “amusement park” or a “beach mall”.

The draft directions for Bondi have everything to do with what community members asked of us in the consultation in late 2012.

Community members asked for more toilets and facilities. The draft directions include two additional proposed sites for toilets, plus additional kids toilets near the playground. Council is also upgrading existing toilets in the park.

People asked us for more shade. As a result, more trees are proposed, particularly behind Bondi Pavilion where it is easier for trees to grow.

Community members gave feedback that the Bondi Pavilion building should continue to be a cultural, community and commercial facility. They told us the building needs better maintenance, and that we must always respect the heritage of this iconic building. The draft directions include the restoration of the rear of Bondi Pavilion to be the grand entrance to the beach, beautifying the internal courtyards, better use of the foyer, and improving the overall upkeep of the building.

People asked us for improved recreation facilities at Bondi. As a result a junior skate area is proposed, for smaller kids to skate in. An upgrade to the children’s playground is also suggested, with new toilets for children nearby. There would also be improved access to the children’spool at the northern end of the beach.

In response to direct community feedback it’s proposed that the outdoor exercise station be upgraded, and that beach volleyball be allowed on the beach.

Community members also raised the issue of whether parked cars should be relocated from Queen Elizabeth
Drive. Here are just some of the verbatim comments we received: “More green picnic space and less cars would be great. At the moment, the car park cuts across the beach/public space”; “Fewer cars along the beach”; “Too many cars close to beach spoil views and parks”; “[Queen] Elizabeth Drive should go, no cars, bigger promenade”.

Council does not intend to reduce the amount of car parking at Bondi Beach. But as a result of community feedback, the draft directions released in 2013 do include a long term option of relocating the car parking from Queen Elizabeth Drive to an underground car park. This would create additional promenade space along Bondi Park, and would also create additional green space over the current Park Drive car park. All up this would see a net increase in recreation and green space of 15%. There is no reason this would increase traffic congestion.

Community members asked for more bike racks and better public transport at Bondi. As a result the draft directions include more bike racks. Later in the year Council will also be seeking community views on improving public transport through a new light rail system.

So in total, the draft directions for Bondi Beach, Bondi Park and Bondi Pavilion would see the beach remaining clean and beautiful; a greener, more pedestrianised park with improved facilities; and a sprucing up of the much loved Bondi Pavilion.

These are only draft directions though. A more detailed draft will be released later this year, for further community comment. This is the community’s vision and we are very excited to be delivering it.

For more information about the Bondi Beach, Park and Pavilion Plan of management, please go to www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/bondipom and click through for the long term plans and the short term plans. Questions are welcome and can be sent to bondipom@waverley.nsw.gov.au.

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