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Letters September 2017

By Dan Hutton on September 13, 2017 in

Gold pen with hand written letter. Focus on end tip of fountain pen.

To whom it may concern at ‘Southern Courier’ Publication,
I would like to advise you of an apparent change in the ‘distribution’ of the Southern Courier magazine recently, leading to local community frustration and even anger.
I live in a small four-unit complex near the southern end of Mount Street, Coogee. Over the past few weeks we have noticed upon arriving home in the evening that the magazines are either strewn around our footpath (having been either thrown from a vehicle, or the wind has blown them from the top of the mailbox cluster), or they are still on top of the mailboxes and the whole lot is soaking wet as there is no plastic covering to the magazines any longer. Our neighbours in the vicinity have also expressed the same frustration.
Furthermore, if indeed they are placed on top of the mailbox cluster, the delivery person cannot apparently count as we have four mailboxes and we frequently receive six to eight magazines, which is obviously a waste of paper.
Collectively, I am sure that your advertisers would not appreciate the lack of care taken to deliver their promotional or community messages, and this would also apply to other contributors of interesting articles to your magazine.
If you have changed your policy not to wrap the magazine in plastic, perhaps to save costs and/or the potential environmental effect of plastic, then they should be ‘delivered’ into a mailbox and not left on the mailboxes to be blown away, or rained upon. If they are ‘delivered’ by being thrown from a vehicle onto the footpath or nature-strip, then I suggest the environmental impact will be much worse!
I would be interested to understand if there has been either an overall change of policy, leading to a different delivery methodology; and is this collectively a cost saving strategy, or a misguided environmental protection program? I suggest it may be a little bit of all of these!
Brian Lovell, Coogee

Dear Dan and James,

I would like to clarify once and for all the difference in community groups interested in Waverley Cemetery. There still seems to be confusion. There are three groups.
Friends of Waverley Cemetery (FWC) are affiliated with Waverley Council. They charge a small fee and conduct tours and circulate a newsletter. They have a wonderful in depth knowledge of the history of the cemetery.
Save Waverley Cemetery (SWC) have agitated for commercial development of the cemetery – a large pavilion on the gully site with a café and function rooms. The proposals were vehemently opposed by residents and others. As it turned out, their proposals were proved to be ludicrous given the storm damage to the gully last year. Their development would have been washed away completely.
Residents for Waverley Cemetery (RWC) have been lobbying for over 15 years for this extraordinarily iconic site to be protected and restored. The group prepared and lodged the application for State Heritage Listing. The intention was that the listing would result in grants to assist in preserving the cemetery. Neither FWC nor SWC were involved in the Heritage application.
Residents for Waverley Cemetery would welcome those who are similarly passionate about protecting and preserving the cemetery. There is no fee. You can find us on Facebook.
Marie Persson, on behalf of Residents for Waverley Cemetery

Dear Dan,
What an ugly spectacle at Tuesday night’s council chambers – Liberal Councillors Goltsman and Cusack in a duet of diatribes, not that they seemed to need any provocation from Labor Councillor Wakefield.
I was interested in the motion Councillors Goltsman and Cusack sponsored concerning ‘correct information’ about Bondi Pavilion. 40 years of my working life has been well spent designing and building gardens – over a couple of hundred in the Waverley and Woollahra municipalities alone. Perhaps as well as anyone in the room that night.
I was competent to speak about the plans, ramifications, and costing for Bondi Pavilion.
I entered the spirit of the motion with facts and figures – the number of toilets to be removed in Stage 1 are misrepresented in council information; the toilets in the Bucket List and staff amenities are not counted.
The fact is no rainwater falling on the Pavilion is recycled. Nor is any food waste recycled – contrary to the council’s EPA 3 – the ‘Bondi Gobbler’ video with an enthusiastic endorsement from Mayor Betts is on the council website.
The quantity surveyor, Altus Page Kirkland’s figures for a similar scope of work vary wildly from the July 2016 whole project assessment to the Stage 1 April 2017 figures.
On the contentious issue of privatisation of the Pavilion, at the June meeting Councillor Goltsman sponsored a motion. It gave the owners of the Bondi Pacific an unprecedented outright lease to 160 square metres of public footpath on Campbell Parade. This was contrary to the council’s own ‘Design Review’ and current practice of a footpath permit issued to the cafe/restaurant operator, not property owner.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the mayor’s ‘no privatisation’ claims.
I note my dictionary has ‘privation’ and ‘privilege’ either side of ‘privatisation’.
In speaking to their own motion, ‘correct information’ was absent, and both councillors resorted to hysterical invective regarding citizens having a contrary view to their own.
Surely these are not people to be trusted to represent a vibrant and diverse municipality at the September elections.
Murray Cox, Bondi

Dear Beast,
I was wondering if any of your other readers have been booked for turning right from Birrell Street at the intersection of Ruthven Street, Bondi Junction? The sign was installed in January 2017 and in February Waverley Council added a large fluorescent ‘Traffic Conditions Changed’ warning sign on top of it. I am wondering if anyone has a photo of the sign taken before the warning sign was installed on top of it. If they do could they please email it to me at
Ralph Green, Clovelly

Could you ask Waverley Council if they have improvements planned for the 70-metre long pathway from the end of the promenade to the toilet block at South Bondi. It has been in a shitty state of repair for over 17 years. Waverley Council continually highlights the proposed Bondi Pavilion upgrades and the many millions of dollars planned to be spent, however, no mention is ever given to the important pathway link that seems to be continually forgotten.
This pathway area is used as part of the Bondi to Coogee walkway and many, many more people use this narrow pathway strip on the journey to or from the Bondi Pavilion. Council recently completed a good job on the upgrade to the toilet block at the southern end of the walkway.
I have just read Councils’ Waverley in Focus’, Winter 2017 magazine that was dropped in local residents’ letterboxes. It states on page 4 that Waverley is proud of its beautiful open spaces, which is why it has ensured our parks and playgrounds are the best they can be.
It is not mentioned on page 6 of the magazine as part of the looking to the future work to be done over the next 12 months.
The Pavilion upgrade gets all the attention whilst all the public continue to walk the walk on this pathway.
John Fallon, Bondi

Hi readers,
Has anyone encountered a sweet but invasive fox at Clovelly Beach? I had a chance meeting last week around 7.30pm. I’d like to know how many are located around the Clovelly area and what is being done to control numbers. Obviously our native wildlife does not need another adversary in their urban jungle struggle.
James Robert, Clovelly

Yet again we see the facts that in the past they knew better. For almost 100 years the trams ran beside Centennial Park, between the trees in Alison Road, Randwick. They operated on a purposely built raised area, which also acted as a levy bank to prevent any flooding (overflowing) from the ponds in the park. This system worked well, with no real issues during that time. After the trams ceased operating, the levy bank, minus the tracks, remained and continued to prevent any flooding of Kensington.
Many years later it was (unwisely) decided to lower the levy bank to provide better views of the park. This was done and it was not long after that the pond overflowed and flooded many parts of Kensington. After this, the old levy bank height was then reinstated, with no flooding issues.
So it’s remarkable to see that a “high risk dam” (further cost blow out) now has to be was constructed between the pond and the new light rail tracks to prevent flooding. It seems unbelievable that there has been no follow up on history, and reasons for past construction, which worked so well. The levy bank height has now been removed (again), making the light rail tracks almost the same level as the pond, hence the need for a dam.
Of course none of this would have been necessary if the original proposed route beside the racecourse had been adopted.
Chris O’Sullivan, Queens Park

Hey guys!
I wanted to respond to a letter, ‘We Grew Here, You… Moved Here’, published in the August 2017 mag.
This letter saddened me. Bondi and the surrounding beaches are a mixture of transient cultures, from the newbie backpackers to the original board riders, the young to the old, the wealthy and the struggling. This is what makes the area such a diverse and interesting place to live. I want to hear from different people that have lived or are new to the area, because it represents our unique population.
Sometimes I hear residents talking about Bondi like it is owned solely by them, but it’s not. Bondi and the surrounds are for everyone to share and enjoy. And I want to hear their unique and individual stories.
Kerry Cusack, Bondi Beach

The Editors,
It is no secret that GDA Consultants recommended an undergound car park at Bondi Beach in order to meet the parameters of its brief from the council, which included “reducing pedestrian access severance along Park Drive and Queen Elizabeth Drive (QED)”. Despite it having been the centre of debate in your pages for some years, Mr. Doyle (Letters, The Beast, August 2017), criticises me for failing to mention that recommendation in my July letter.
From my perspective this debate in The Beast has been about the proposed prevention of us, the public, from car access to QED; criticism of the proposed underground parking station is merely ancillary to that issue.
I quoted extensively from the GDA report in order to inform your readers of the persistent misinformation from Mr. Doyle in his mischievous assertions to the effect that QED would be ripped up and converted into verdant green recreation space despite it being necessary as an access road for police, ambulances and a variety of service vehicles.
Greg Maidment, Bronte

Hysterical! The Beast now has a view on whether or not it should support organised religion, whatever that means. As it turns out not only does it not “support” organised religion, but in fact it feels “animosity” towards it (sad face). Does this means it supports disorganised religion, or has it not formed an educated view on this yet? No doubt this “animosity” does not extend to Buddhism or at least Tibetan Buddhism, for that would not be a trendy position to take. And guess what, The Beast has joined the popular left in believing that Cardinal Pell “compounds” its animosity towards organised religion. And even better than that, The Beast has formed another no doubt considered position that it is entitled to offend the country’s 5.5 million Catholics by referring to Cardinal Pell as a “pompous old prick”. Well done editors. Why don’t you stick to what you are good at boys and leave bigoted matters to the bigots.
Peter Manus Strain, Bondi Beach

Do you have the balls to print this letter?
I have moved to the Eastern Suburbs to enjoy the magnificent natural beauty that it has to offer. I now call Coogee my home. I choose to give The Beast a quick read before it goes into the recycling bin as it gives some local information, and provides some low level reading, which at times may be considered amusing. Be what you want to be: a yogi, a lesbian, an affluent yummy mummy, transgender, or a no gender suburbanite. I don’t care. But I’m Catholic and proud to be so. I do not expect adherence to my faith to be trashed as you have on multiple occasions.
Furthermore, throw the book at Pell and let him rot in jail if he is guilty – but until found so, how dare he be tried by media and the likes of you. I don’t believe in reincarnation, chakras and sun saluting the Hindu gods, but I respect those who do. I ask only the same courtesy. Be brave enough to respect me and those who, ‘God forbid’, happen to be Christian, or anything other than New Age secularist.
Liz, Coogee

Well those nice ‘beasty’ boys from the Beast were so chuffed that I called it right on the amalgamation backflip by Team Gladys and her merry cohort of back-somersaulting members that they invited me back to see what other tea leaves I could read ahead of the local council elections on September 9!
I guess you didn’t need to be a brain surgeon to call the ‘no amalgamation’ decision. It was a dead certainty. But of course Gladys and Gabby must have been nibbling the cheese and sipping the red wine in front of the fire last week and realised they better come out with the news in time to dampen any election backlash, especially as the local government elections were being held in each of the areas that the amalgamation ‘swords’ were swinging precariously! Now they (Team Gladys and her cohorts) are hoping they are sitting pretty in each of their mostly blue ribbon seats come election day.
But wait, there’s bound to be more. After all, we’re swinging into election mode and there’s light rail vehicles under wraps at the racecourse waiting for an unveiling moment. Wouldn’t that be a grand sight for disgruntled Randwick residents and ratepayers, whether they were sitting in traffic bottlenecks across the city or sipping quietly on glasses of champas at the community race day at Royal Randwick – Team Gladys no doubt riding high, not on million dollar nellies, but astride a billion dollar, 60-metre, glistening and sweaty light rail vehicle, on display for all to see just ahead of going to the polls. Let’s hope they at least take the plastic wrapping from the light rail vehicle down to the Perry Street Recycling Centre as a token of making up for the environmental vandalism that most have forgotten about with the butchering of that stunning grove of trees across from the racecourse, or the historic figs along Anzac Parade!
Let’s face it, Captain ‘Bizarre’ Constance, our ‘motorways for everybody’ Transport Minister, Premier Gladys, and Minister for Everything Gabby Uppity-ton have already booked tickets for the first light rail test-drive so they can make their victory lap around the outside of the racecourse, up Wansey Road to the hospital terminus ahead of any NSW state election (scheduled for March the year after, but could it happen sooner).
Everything they do onwards of the local council elections in September is gearing up to stake their winner’s cup for the next state election.
I have read the tea leaves in my market stall, and here’s what else I can tell you is coming down the track to make this Christmas and next spectacular for Eastern Suburbs residents – an extension of the light rail to Maroubra. Surely it couldn’t be too far off; it’s just a matter of time (or timing!) with Team Gladys’ red-wine sipping head-honchos plotting and planning in front of the fireplace at Parliament House.
The sale of Long Bay Jail and relocation of lucky inmates to some equally lucky inland backwater town (probably publicised as ‘regional revitalisation’) may be a little further down the track, but an announcement of re-development plans at the former jail will definitely precede the next election date. Gladdy and Gabby, the Minister for Everything, are likely to leave any proposed ‘revitalisation’ of Maroubra Junction and its public housing space (code for urban activation precincts Mk II) until after they get their March 2019 mandate, and when that comes they will kindly admit that they listened to the locals and will push through the light rail to La Perouse (you wouldn’t want to be a tree in the middle of Anzac Parade when they make that announcement, would you?).
Or perhaps they will at least take the light rail to Eastgardens (if somebody else is going to pay?) and then they can announce they just want to ‘ameliorate’ the surge of vehicles (i.e. traffic chaos) around the Little Bay and Long Bay redevelopments. What gorgeous pretty name will developers come up with for the Long Bay site? Something French or Parisian, like Longue-Bah, maybe. I wonder what the Aboriginal words are for “sitting pretty on multi-million dollar Pacific Ocean views”?
Anyway, I shouldn’t exhaust my tea leaves any further as we still have a long run through by-elections, council elections and state elections! I did hear a whisper that they might celebrate the Powerhouse Museum relocation decision with an announcement that the first light rail vehicle under wraps at Royal Randwick will be the first post industrial Team Gladys exhibit once the Museum opens at Parramatta in a decade. Could it be that the light rail vehicle will even be adorned with gladiolas, marking the pretense of its naming as ‘Gladdy, Queen of the East’?
Ima Watt (stallholder)

Dear James and Dan,
As amalgamation of Waverley Council appears to have gone away and elections are imminent, I thought I might share my wish list for the next Waverley leadership.
The biggest single issue facing Waverley residents and ratepayers is the quality of council planning. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the peak community strategy document, Waverley Together 3 (WT3). The community strategy answers the questions of how to become the community we want to be and how will we judge progress.
The NSW Government offers two templates for our community’s strategic planning, both centered on themes of society, economy, environment, and civic leadership. The ‘simpler” template assumes each issue has only one theme. The ‘more comprehensive’ version encourages analysis of each important issue across all four themes – i.e. a multi-dimensional approach.
Waverley Council, without consultation, imposes the ‘simpler’ approach for our community’s strategic plan.
Why is the multi-dimensional approach not preferred? All Council activities impacting on a community issue should be consistent, targeting the agreed goal. Managers have clear guidelines whether they are making decisions on social, economic, environmental, or governance aspects of an issue. Inconsistencies and inefficiencies can be identified and eliminated, new programs developed when there is need. Relative priorities can be determined – after all, resources and funds are finite.
Council’s leadership can then analyse Council’s capacity and capability, and shape the organisation to deliver the ask. The Delivery Plan can identify the rationale for each program and how it is linked to the high level strategic goal/vision. The annual Operational Plan provides detail and budget, leading to evaluation and accountability by program and issue.
A poor planning example with the lot. Management of Bondi Beach is a major issue; the cost of hosting visitors and tourists almost certainly a drain on ratepayers’ funds. Who gets the economic benefits is unknown. The one dimensional WT3 provided no coherent high-level strategic direction for the latest Beach Plan of Management. Despite a national heritage classification based on the nature-based beach culture, there is no contemporary ‘destination brand’ strategy in either document, an unforgivable omission given the international reputation. There is no attempt to engage with the tensions between residential amenity, community facility and international/national/regional visitor demand. The finances remain opaque. There’s no accountability.
The next Council needs to treat Waverley as a complex place and adopt the multi-dimensional template to plan our future strategy. I nominate Bondi Beach, sea level rise, over-development, the worsening alcohol situation since the lockout laws were introduced (assaults up 24.1 per cent per annum three-year trend for Bondi Beach), a declining residential amenity, and Council’s own governance and culture as significant issues for real-world analysis and consultation. No doubt there are others.
The culture needs to change. Don’t forget to vote.
Ray Johnson
, Bondi Beach

Dear Editor,
At first I took the ‘Bondi Amusement Park Fails to Raise Winter’s Bone’ (Rupert’s Rant, The Beast, August 2017) to be a typical Generation Y response considering the number of people who lined up for hours every weekend to get a ride on the camels. However, after doing a quick Google search on Dark Mofo and seeing the SBS photos from the event, I could see how people covered in blood during a three-hour bloody sacrificial ritual would be more suited to the general population of Waverley. Considering the Winter Magic festival is on during school holidays for school aged students and their families from the surrounding area and Australia, I can’t help but think ice skating, camels, and the Bondi Eye are more appropriate sources of entertainment.
An ‘Average’ Bondi Local, Bondi

Kieran Blake’s article (The Truth Behind The Light Rail Finally Revealed, The Beast, August 2017) was perfect for a loud laugh, as usual. Conspiracy theorists from this side of Anzac Parade will feel validated too. The Beast does it again. Thank you!
Carolyn Lancaster, Bondi Beach