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Letters Jan 2017

By Dan Hutton on January 12, 2017 in Other

Deathly serious about cemetery access Picture: Dalton Wills

Deathly serious about cemetery access
Picture: Dalton Wills

CEMETERY SAVED

Dear Beasties,

The SWC’s idea of commercial exploits at Waverley Cemetery would never have preserved the cemetery at all. It would have attracted more people to vandalise the beautiful cemetery. As for a higher perimeter wall, that would be a total disaster. On the south side near Boundary Street, where we have lived and walked for over 40 years, there has never been any trouble. The wall is great, and gives people a clear view of the beauty of the cemetery. So just bugger off and leave our cemetery alone.

Best wishes,

The People’s Front of Judea (Lyn)

BONDI DREAMING

I am so glad to be able read your wonderful magazine from abroad in the UK where I now live. I miss the Eastern Suburbs and the people. Although I do get to visit once in a while it’s not the same as living there.

Having said this, I do live in a beautiful, unspoiled part of Wales, UK – Mumbles village, gateway to Gower Peninsula, Britain’s first ever listed Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

But, it’s not Bondi with ‘The Office’, ‘The Temple’, and other (unofficially named) spots where a few select local pals meet for a morning yarn, stretch and swim.

The one thing I am still grateful for is that when I do, on occasion, visit, my old buddies are still there in the original time frame that we always met.

Reading The Beast reminds me of happy times spent living at ‘Surfside Six’, right opposite the ‘Bergs and, of course, the beach!

Lisanne Beck, Swansea, Old South Wales

PEOPLE WHO WRITE LONG LETTERS SUCK

Dear Eds,

After waking up early one morning, but still wishing more sleep, I started reading your magazine. Ignoring the letters to the editor, I was still very much awake until I did start reading readers’ contributions. Boy did I start to get drowsy, and it was Stephen Lighfoot’s letter that eventually got me into the land of nod. Maybe he can take up a new profession: writing letters – long boring ones – and getting people to read them, which will put them to sleep. No more sleeping drugs! It’s a miracle.

Mark Schlink, Coogee

ANOTHER LONG LETTER HATER

Can all your readers please reduce the length of their letters. No one wants to read a page-long complaint. That is all.

Tom Chapman, Bronte

OPERATION CRAYWEED: REUSE, REPURPOSE, RECYCLE

‘Operation Crayweed: Art-Work-Site’ at Bondi’s 2016 Sculpture By the Sea is the first in an ongoing series of environmental, participatory and educational art/science projects to be installed re-using the same materials at a number sites along the Sydney coastline from Cronulla to Palm Beach.

The ongoing series aims to work creatively with local communities to raise awareness of the reforestation of the Sydney coastline with crayweed, a foundation seaweed species that disappeared in the 1970s and 80s, most likely as a result of significant water pollution.

The art and science project is a collaboration between artists Turpin+Crawford Studio and scientists from UNSW and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, who are responsible for the crayweed research and restoration program.

The letter entitled ‘Plastic Not So Fantastic at Sculpture by the Sea’ by Christopher and Millicent (Letters, The Beast, December 2016) raised relevant concerns about the use of plastic in the art installation. This is an important issue that was seriously considered by the artists and scientists in the lead up to the project.

We took a mitigating approach to the selection of materials that comprised the following three principles: a requirement for longevity, durability, and safety; a commitment to a diligent install and removal methodology; and an intention to reuse, repurpose and finally recycle all materials.

All the materials used in this first installation have been collected, cleaned and stored ready for reuse in the next installation, potentially at Manly, in 2017. The plastic barrier mesh, bunting, crab floats, buoys and various signage materials, as well as thousands of nylon cable ties, will be reused and repurposed multiple times before being recycled, wherever possible, upon completion of the project in a few years’ time.

Michaelie Crawford and Jennifer Turpin (No Address Provided)

TRIVIAL PURSUIT

Hi James and Dan,

I’m a big fan of The Beast, but the Trivial Trivia quiz annoys me no end. Once again this month, nine out of the 10 questions are seemingly irrelevant to your readers (not to mention impossible to answer, e.g. ‘How many medals did Ireland win at the 2004 Olympic Games?’). Surely it’s possible to write 10 questions about the local area – geography, history, personalities, sport, etc. You might even get one of the many pubs that host a regular quiz to sponsor it and derive some advertising dollars.

Regards, David Clark (No Address Provided)

RANDWICK COUNCIL RUINS GORDON’S BAY

In recent weeks, Randwick Council has erected three enormous concrete pillars in previously unspoilt Gordons Bay. The pillars are up to five metres high. They completely dominate this side of the bay, and are visible from all around the bay.

Council says the pillars are there to prevent rock falls, but there were other options that would not have ruined the visual quality of the bay – a bay that Council calls ‘a secluded oasis’. This is an ugly, brutalist approach in a really special part of Sydney.

Of late, the pillars have also become giant canvases for graffiti artists.

Council engineers should hang their heads in shame. The best solution: take the pillars away and sack the idiots who made the decision to erect them.

Stephen Sheldon, Coogee

UNDERGROUND CARPARK NOT SUCH A BAD IDEA

Dear Editor,

I refer to the letters of Messrs Worssam and Maidment (Letters, The Beast, December 2016) and their objection to a massive increase in green recreation space by relocating the Bondi Beach aboveground car park underground. Who would’ve thought the objective of creating acres of extra room for the community would be so fiercely opposed? Albeit by two!

Converting the aboveground car park space to recreation use creates many possibilities: an upper pedestrian boulevard shaded by trees; an extra outdoor gym; another or expanded playground. More parkland, grass, trees, seating, tables, barbecues. More shade. More space for everyone.

The majority of park/promenade/beach users arrive by public transport, walk or cycle down. Motorists who normally park on Queen Elizabeth Drive (QED) would only have to walk an extra 50 metres to get to the beach from a car park relocated behind the Pavilion. Indeed, motorists parking for the purpose of going to the Bondi shops, markets or restaurants would have their walk reduced.

Mr. Worssam lists a whole series of engineering objections to an underground car park. However, Mr. Worssam doesn’t share with us the engineering qualifications that allow him to make all these objections. Well, I’ve got news: Council’s engineering/geo-technical feasibility study has not even commenced! So I believe Mr. Worssam is simply wasting everyone’s time going through his ever more fantastical list of geo-technical objections.

Mr. Maidment objects to me saying “a few regular locals” are doing everything they can to stop the expansion of Bondi Park. Well perhaps I should clarify: it is actually two regular locals.

Mr. Maidment writes of a relocated car park: “My concern is for the generations who would be denied the level of enjoyment that Bondi has provided me and many thousands over the years,” he wrote. Seriously? On a hot summer’s day when there are 40,000 people on the beach, what percentage of beach-goers have the 300 car spots on QED? One per cent? Two per cent? So why were the other 98 per cent not deterred from going to the beach? What an absurd argument to say a car park relocated behind the Pavilion will deny generations enjoyment of the beach!

And how do the overwhelming majority of beachgoers arrive at Bondi Beach? The answer: public transport. Yes, public transport! These are two words you never hear from Messrs Worssam and Maidment in all their fantastical claims that people’s accessibility to the beach will be impeded by a relocated car park. If they really wanted to address accessibility to the beach they would be advocates for better public transport. But sadly that is not the case.

Clearly all this talk of ‘beach accessibility’ is a sham for the car-obsessed to retain their favourite parking spot.

It’s hard to believe a proposal to turn a large concrete car park into green recreation space could attract such fierce opposition, albeit from two! Especially when an alternative adjacent car park is being provided.

This opposition to extra green space takes place in the context of a city with a fast growing population (forecast to grow from the current 5 million to 7 million in the next 20 years). It takes place in the context of a suburb that is high density, highly visited and has an increasing number of local children growing up in units. Go figure!

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hersey, Bondi

SPEAKING OUT

I am deeply alarmed in regard to the Stage 1 works under the currently proposed Bondi Pavilion upgrade by Waverley Council. Unless there is concerted community action, this foolish proposal could actually get up and destroy our much loved community and festival facility. The thought of losing the northern courtyard or having it reduced in size is heartbreaking.

Over 40 years of attending festivals and events in the Pavilion, I am convinced that its current configuration, including the location of the central toilets, is perfect just the way it is. It has taken nearly 100 years of holding community events in the Pavilion and incremental improvements to make it into a functional, practical and workable space. Ripping everything out and rebuilding at great cost would be shear madness. Those who insist the built form be altered clearly do not use it regularly. Of course the toilets, showers and change rooms need repair and refurbishment. However, easier access from the beach can be achieved simply by creating an entrance to the northern side of the Pavilion adjacent to the surf club.

The Bucket List is the first hospitality business that has ever worked there. It holds a place in the affections of all of the locals and should not be destroyed by reactionary architects, planners and heritage consultants. The council’s proposal to spend $38 million on a makeover will rob Eastern Suburbs ratepayer’s of our beautiful world class festival venue, a much loved local business, and 50 per cent of our community space, simply to line the pockets of developers.

Adrian Newstead, Bondi Beach

GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT

Interesting, Thomas Aspland, that you made those comments about Bondi Beach Precinct wanting to keep Bondi Beach in some 1950s time warp based on our opposition to a 24-hour Woolworths BWS and supermarket going into the basement of the old Swiss Grand (Train to Bondi a Good Idea, Letters December 2016).

You obviously weren’t involved in this objection, or you would have been aware that the arguments were soundly based, partly supported by the Waverley Police and Waverley Council, and wholly supported by local businesses. That our objection helped to restrict the hours (24 hours selling cheap booze just opposite the park) is a win for us.
We were also concerned about an increase in the number of delivery trucks on Bondi Road and Campbell Parade (which segues into your remarks about traffic), amongst other things.

Interesting also that you don’t seem to have been an active participant at Precinct meetings.
There are no ‘leaders’ at Precinct meetings – they are facilitated by a chair (usually the convenor) and a secretary takes notes, but they are open meetings for anyone who wishes to attend. You should come along; you might even enjoy it. And everyone is encouraged to voice their opinion.

Lenore Kulakauskas, Bondi

WHY SO SELFISH, ANNA?

Hey Anna (Council Can’t Control Everything, Letters, The Beast, December 2016), You can stop it from happening. You are obviously aware of all the steps the locals and traders (who you will be in cohabitation with in the neighborhood you have chosen to demolish and construct in) have taken to delay this. Or is this just another investment property and you have no idea? Selfish! Get over it!

Andrew Travers, Randwick

EASTERN BITCHES NEED A SLAP

Living in the Eastern Beaches area, known as the Eastern Suburbs, is full of lovely things to do: cafes, swimming, nice walks along the beach. And then there is real estate. All I hear about now is real estate, and how some properties on offer are so overvalued that one should get free private school education to go with it – well, that’s if one has children. But I have realised that the people of the Eastern Beaches (our upcoming new council name) need a bit of a slap.

I have lived in the east for quite some time, mostly in Randwick. Over the past many years, I have noticed more parking issues (which people seem to complain about, but there really is no solution), and people just not really caring about anyone other than themselves. My friends, who work for local councils, tell me stories about how many people, often women and some men, always play the ‘I pay my rates’ or ‘I have just paid two million dollars for my property in Little Bay’ card.

I guess it’s not my fault that one has paid too much for their property, in Little Bay. Is Little Bay even in the east? It used to be full of pestilence and disease back in the day. But who really cares about your property, and that you pay rates? All homeowners pay rates, some pay land tax, but all in all it doesn’t really make you special, so stop being an arsehole to try to get better service. It’s like a Hollywood star saying, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ One needs a slap.

The Eastern Beaches, or if you’re saying it in an accent it’s ‘Eastern Bitches’, has everything the rest of Sydney would want to kill for, so why are people so glum, rude and pushy? I feel people need to take a chill pill. I am sure there are many prescribing those. How else are all the mothers out there able to do everything, and still be able to look like they perhaps live in Stepford?

I do like living here, and love the outdoor lifestyle, but now it seems very competitive – competing for a parking spot, a cafe seat, the best schools, even a parcel of land. Sometimes I feel like I am on the set of The Real Housewives. Maybe they should change the council name to Eastwick? The Bitches of Eastwick – now that would be much more realistic!

Anna Cook, Randwick

BRONTE RSL

In the November edition of The Beast I asked if we were at the beginning of the end or merely at the end of the beginning of the Bronte RSL redevelopment saga (Is This the Beginning of the End of the Bronte RSL Development Saga?, The Beast, November 2016). Given recent moves by the new developer, Mr Danny Avidan of the RDA Property Group, it seems we are actually back where we started in 2012.

Unbeknownst to the community, the developer met with the Waverley Council planners in October to discuss changes to the approved 2015 RSL DA. Subsequently, RDA put in an application to weaken the planning controls attached to the DA. In a confusing move, the application was later withdrawn. Save Bronte has been told it will be resubmitted in the near future.

The changes requested were far from “minor” as stated by Mr Avidan. They involved significant re-directing of construction and service trucks through our residential streets and past the Clovelly Public School, Bronte Early Education Childcare Centre, Clovelly Childcare Centre and the Clovelly Scout Hall. The disruption and safety implications of these changes are plain to see.

The application sought to solicit several structural changes to our streets to accommodate the large trucks that would otherwise not be able to manoeuvre round the existing tight corners. The most significant of these is the relocation or ‘“removal all together” of the pedestrian crossing at the corner of Macpherson Street and St Thomas Street – a ridiculous suggestion for those readers who know the busy crossing.

Ominously the developer requested access to Chesterfield Lane for trucks not only during the construction period, but also to service “the completed development” in the future. Servicing the building from the rear lane opens up the possibility of a large supermarket being put on the site, which is exactly what our community and our council rejected way back in the beginning of this saga. Simply put, this would cause chaos on Macpherson Street.

The Waverley Traffic Committee (WTC) took into account the safety and other traffic issues of the redevelopment when it examined the DA last year. The subsequent WTC recommendations were endorsed and implemented by the Waverley Development Assessment Panel during the DA approval process. It would be madness to now, less than a year later, do a backflip and allow the truck movements deemed inappropriate by the WTC, but requested by a developer.

When Danny Avidan bought the RSL site, he told the Bronte community to “relax” because he would only build as per the approved DA. From bitter experience we didn’t relax and now we are more than ready to continue our four-year campaign for a complying development.

What Mr. Avidan needs to remember is that his company bought the RSL site and not the whole suburb. He should keep his word and stop trying to change the DA.

Stephen Lightfoot, Bronte

A LETTER OF THANKS

I was down in Bondi on Thursday, December 1, enjoying a nice afternoon in the surf. It started to bucket down on my way back to the car and, as I was all wet anyway, after placing the board on the roof of my car I stood and just enjoyed the rain on my face. Feeling refreshed, I hopped into my car, turned up the tunes, and drove off feeling very proud of myself.

Until, that is, I got to Bondi Road (from North Bondi) and realised I hadn’t strapped my board to the roof! After retracing my steps (twice!), there it was, leaning against a restaurant on Campbell Parade. Apparently someone behind me watched me drive off with my board flying off, tried to honk at me to stop, but due to my usual blasting of tunes I did not hear it.

So a massive thankyou to the do-gooder. You have some great karma coming your way!

Tara Twiddy, Randwick

A GET OUT OF JAIL FREE

Remember playing Monopoly?

Back then I had a strategy, and that was to buy up everything I landed on as quickly as possible. I noticed if you just played the game, paying for bills and rent as you landed on other players’ properties, all the while deciding what you may end up buying after a few rounds, it was more participating than trying to win.

Buying everything meant you’d go dangerously close to having no money in your bank, but someone would land on your place and pay taxes and soon enough you’d be ahead again with enough to spare to turn a few houses into a hotel and, well, that was always a game changer.

Surprisingly the jail square is the most commonly visited square on the board. And to have a ‘get out of jail free card’ was also a game changer.

We had a real life ’get out of jail free card’ recently that I’d like to share.

After moving for the third time in a few years we decided we should stop paying rent and purchase a property we couldn’t get kicked out of. Endless house showings and a spiralling market dashed hopes quickly and we placed the idea on the backburner. That was until the real estate agency contacted us informing us that our landlord wanted to come and do an inspection/assessment on our rental property.

Fearing the inevitable letter to vacate, we got back out there. We tried to play cool with real estate agents that dripped with confidence stating the property we’d shown interest in would sell way over our very, very best offer… and they would!

After my better half expressed the wish to own the little single-storey terrace we were renting (and hadn’t been kicked out of), I had an idea. I’m great at delegating so I asked the missus to Google the names of the landlords that were on our lease. Lucky for us the two names were a couple and they lived back in the USA. My wife made contact, penned a simple email expressing our love for their rental and asked would they perhaps be interested in selling. A few emails back and forward, no pressure, and all the while we kept paying them rent until yes, without having to move again, we bought our rental.

Massive advantage, no pressure from agents, no downtime for the landlords or fees, just smooth sailing from one week paying rent to the next week paying a mortgage – my get out of jail free card!

Cheers,

Tim, Bondi Junction.

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