Monthly Mailbag – April 2019
RUBBISH RUMMAGING – ILLEGAL OR JUST GROSS?
Hi Beast – Firstly, love your publication. It’s wonderful and kudos to your team for the hard work.
This morning I was annoyingly awoken by a lady going through my recycling bin looking for cans and bottles to cash in. I am curious to know what the legalities are around digging through someone else’s bin. I am all for a clean, sustainable environment, hence why I recycle, but it feels both intrusive and sly creeping up and down someone’s street at the crack of dawn.
I think the local councils need to set some ground rules around these early morning rubbish rummaging expeditions.
For the most part loss is an intangible thing. With the recent death of much loved chef, husband, father, friend and family man Justin Bull, the local Bronte community has been faced with the loss of a man who had made his mark on the world with a smile that filled a room.
The legacy of his amazing café, Huxton’s, stands proud as a reminder of his talents in the kitchen, but a deeper legacy will be the memories of those who knew him, his sense of humour, his generosity, his loyalty and his love of his family. I know his family meant the absolute world to him, and our hearts go out to all of them, especially Justine and Felix.
Justin’s life was full, and he lived like few are able, but never once lost sight of what mattered to him most. The word ‘community’ is thrown around a lot in a time when some would say it has lost its true meaning, but the outpouring of support shows we are all still capable of looking after others when it is needed. If nothing else, this should show everyone that it may not be the obvious times when that support is needed most.
Vale Juz. You were my mate and I will miss you terribly.
NEW STRICT CONDITIONS AT VILLAGE CAR PARK
If Woollies is your local at Coogee, get ready to pay four dollars just for picking up some bread and milk for the breaky rush.
The new parking rules are only comped based on how much minimum you spend on your groceries. Go down and check out the new sign, Beast.
If some people are abusing the two hours free by buying a stick of gum, then at least give locals 20-30 minutes comped parking for unmetered shopping balances. We don’t need 2 hours comped. It’s not Westfield.
If you usually buy from the independent deli, bakery, butcher there, it may prompt you to get it all from Woolworths to pump up your shopping tote. Seriously.
Check it out Beast. Who thought this up? Not great for honest locals just filling up their pantry.
DOES WOOLLIES HAVE A HEART?
Dear Beast – As a quite long time resident of Coogee (since 2005), I have seen many small businesses going to the wall. And that is always painful. So I was hoping, probably foolishly, that a giant business like Woolworths might show a bit of heart and avoid being the cause of two more small shops dying. Towards the end of last year, therefore, I wrote a letter to the manager of the Coogee store, which put forward my point of view.
The text was as follows:
As a long time customer of your store, I would – first of all – like to congratulate you on the expansion of your store. It was much needed and was the most likely outcome following the sad closure of one of the Coogee Bay Village shops, the long time fruit shop.
My second reason for writing is that I did want to focus on the fact that you are now one of only six stores in the Coogee Bay Village. And members of a village are a community and do need to support each other. I was therefore very distressed to see that your store now has a coffee bar with cakes and sandwiches, and a bakery with a wide range of fresh breads and rolls. This immediately puts at risk two of your neighbours. The delicatessen is anyway struggling, and its coffee and sandwich bar is one of its few sections that is helping it to survive. Likewise, I was saddened to see the number of people availing themselves of the fresh breads and rolls in your store, thereby immediately reducing the number of customers to the bakery, also hurt by the range of cakes in the coffee bar.
I am a shareholder in your company. And I can assure you that I would rather have a slightly smaller profit than one derived from running small businesses into the ground.
All your store needs is to – now, finally – have the wider choice of items in your aisles that other Woolworths stores have. And to have a heart and support your business neighbours by not setting up in direct competition against them on the small range of items that they are marketing to survive.
I look forward to hearing from you with the hope that there will be a slight change in your business model, in order to support your fellow villagers as a true member of our Coogee community.
Sadly, I got no response to that. And I should point out that from what I’ve seen of other Woolworths stores, a front of store coffee bar is not a typical design of their supermarkets. So now I’m taking the next step and appealing to what I would think is a pretty substantial Coogee readership of The Beast to go on supporting the Coogee Village deli and bakery, and help them to survive in their David and Goliath situation.
COLES DOESN’T CARE
Dear editor – Readers need not look far for the kind of corporate behaviour that prompted the banking royal commission.
I live in Pacific Square, above Coles, one of the two supermarkets in Australia that enjoy a cosy and profitable duopoly.
Apparently shoddy construction means the use of hammers or power tools in Coles reverberates up through the walls and into the apartments above. It’s like trying to sleep while a dentist applies the drill.
Told by Randwick Council to work only during business hours, how did Coles respond? With profuse apologies and assurances there would be no repeat (I have a letter from the council that says as much), before resuming night time work anyway.
Cue me at midnight standing in front of a mob of contractors in my pyjamas begging them to comply with the council’s guidance.
The point is, Coles would far prefer to keep residents awake at night than risk losing a few bucks by doing the work during the day.
Meanwhile, the manager of Coles, along with staff from Excel Building Management and Charter Hall, shrug their shoulders and head home for a night of undisturbed sleep.
The blatant disregard for community and “doing the right thing” is exactly the type of behaviour the banking royal commission upbraided. Yet here it is being repeated in our backyard.
What’s worse, there is a series of small businesses in Pacific Square that have carried out complete refits and not once disturbed those living upstairs. They’ve shut up shop, put their heads down and got the work done during business hours. They deserve our gratitude, respect and custom.
Is it any wonder that the electorate feels zero sympathy for big business?
HEAR HEAR, THOMAS
Thanks for an excellent article Thomas from Coogee (Drugging Madness, Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, March 2019). I agree 100 per cent with your comments and opinions. I wish more people would not only open their eyes to see the ‘Australian’ drug problem from a broader perspective, but also the way of life we are supposed to live in today’s modern and highly competitive world. Let’s think a bit harder and stop buying things we don’t need and work less for people we don’t know.
ARISE SIR THOMAS
Who is this well-read hero Sir Thomas of Coogee (Drugging Madness, Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, March 2019)? More like him, more like him please.
Name and Address not provided
SILENCE IS DEAFENING
Dear editors – I read with interest the response from a ‘Spokesperson from Transport for NSW’ (Transport for NSW Reply to Anthony Parelli, Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, March 2019) regarding my letter published in the February edition (Thrown Under the Bus, Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, February 2019). For a moment I thought that I was reading from a Yes Minister script. I suggest that the spokesperson should read a copy of the Transport for NSW ‘Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2018-2022’ and see if the intentions of the plan to ensure DDA requirements were taken into account when making these changes.
Let’s look at the suggestions mentioned in the note:
1. Use an alternative Community Transport Service – The Transport spokesperson should have mentioned that as good as the Randwick-Waverley Community Transport is for seniors, and after meeting prescribed conditions, the service comes at a higher cost and its resources are quite limited. Last time I looked at this service it was $15 for a return trip to Bondi Junction. That is significantly more expensive than the Gold Opal cost of $5 return by public transport for seniors.
2. Catching the 381 on the corner of Dellview and Fletcher Streets – Look again as the stop is not on the corner but further down Dellview Street on an incline and it does not have a bus shelter as the footpath is too narrow. The bus stop has been placed in front of a couple of semi-residences and street parking is restricted.
3. Regarding the walk to the Dellview Street stop being slightly longer and within standard guidelines for access to bus services from Kenneth Street, it does not take into account the 85-metre hill up Fletcher Street (approx. 30-degree incline) between Alexander and Dellview Streets. This makes it difficult, especially for the elderly, who may have high blood pressure as well as the need to manoeuvre a tri-wheel walker. Perhaps the spokesperson should make time to get out of the office and walk up the hill rather than measuring the distance on a map. The intersection of Fletcher, Alexander and Sandridge Streets is also difficult to cross due to passing and turning traffic.
4. Fewer than 50 customers board Route 361 from Sandridge Street towards Bondi Junction – Is this a case of, ‘There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics’? I wonder how many patrons now board the bus on Dellview Street to head toward Bondi Junction?
Like Drew Mitchell mentioned in his note within the March edition, the silence from the current (as at February 2019) local member has been deafening.
In summary, if only Transport for NSW could acknowledge that the changes made here were an error (we all make them) we could move forward and find an equitable and safe alternative for the community, such as putting a bus stop and shelter in Alexander Street (between Kenneth and Fletcher Streets).
RIGHT OF REPLY REGARDING BUSES
Dear editors – Thanks for publishing my Bus Bedlam letter (Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, March 2019). I was hoping to have a right of reply to Transport for NSW’s response, please?
Before I start my rant, to set the record straight I’m from Bronte not Bondi. I suspect the Bondi locals won’t want to be associated with me.
Whilst the Transport for NSW response was mainly factual, it didn’t address the issue of the cancelled 361 bus service NOT going up Hewlett Street, into Alfred and along Birrell Street.
The 381 replacing the 361 does a loop along Marine Parade on the Tamarama and Bronte beachfronts before going up Bondi Road to add to that overly congested route, along with the extra 333 services.
There is now only the 360 service along Alfred and Birrell Streets with the cancellation of the 361 and this is the crux of the issue, having to wait up to 40 minutes plus in peak times. In fact, on several afternoons departing Bondi Junction interchange the bus was so crowded it couldn’t pick up any passengers outside Westfield. And with a bus only every 20 minutes at best, some would have had to wait up to an hour and this was at around 4pm. Yes, a busy time with schoolkids, so additional services or the reinstatement of the 361 would alleviate this. So it’s multi-directional, not just at Sandridge Street, making a mockery of the 50 customers boarding – not all get on or off at Sandridge Street, obviously.
I also note that two school-only buses turn up like clockwork every weekday at the Alfred Street stop in the same traffic conditions that are often used as the excuse for the unreliable service. Go figure.
The community is getting agitated as I often see signs stuck on the bus shelters suggesting contact emails, phone numbers, etc. to complain to, most notably Bruce Notley-Smith and Transport for NSW, whom I’ve contacted numerous times, all to no avail. As an aside, who puts these signs up and who rips them down? Another story, perhaps.
So thanks to The Beast for running with the issue and actually getting, albeit a very glib, response from Transport for NSW. Please stay on the case.
ABOVE AND BEYOND
I had to write this email to commend a local business. Last night I ordered home delivery from Lebanon and Beyond. After an hour I queried how long it would be – apparently my order had been lost in the system, so I told them to cancel it. The manager then rang me back and said that they would deliver my order, free of charge, if I still wanted it. About 20 minutes later it was delivered by the person I presumed to be the manager, who was very apologetic and said that they were implementing a new system and there were some glitches. No charge!
In these days of large companies with large customer re(gu)lations departments that spend their time proving any issue was the customer’s fault (no matter what the issue), it was so refreshing to encounter this type of reaction from a local business.
I can only commend Lebanon and Beyond for their performance, and despite the fact that I was pissed off at the time, they changed my perceptions and I will definitely be ordering from them again.
The food was, as usual, also above average.
LK AND THE ORGANICS
Quick two things. Firstly, just highlighting the history of Lenore Kulakauskas to those who don’t religiously read the letters to the editor like I do. She is running for the seat of Vaucluse and was the head of some Bondi residents’ group.
I better state that I am no fan of Upton. I think she has handled her various portfolios terribly over the years but Lenore Kulakauskas is not a Labor progressive, more like a left wing conservative.
She was against most of the New Year’s concerts in Bondi around the mid-late 2000s and she was originally against the Bondi ice rink when it first started up. She has been against various liquor licences of the smaller bars and restaurants, and was also against the BWS/Woolworths in the Pacific development. She facetiously suggested we might as well serve drinks to the kids at Bondi Public School (how ridiculous) if they put in a discount liquor store there.
So any Labor voters who aren’t a fan of lockout laws or the war on festivals should at least think twice about voting for Lenore.
Secondly, why are Bronte and Waverley Public School advocating organic food? I’m sure it began with good intentions, but the organic industry is strongly against the important scientific field of biotechnology and is constantly demonising conventional agriculture and GMOs. It isn’t more nutritious and in many areas it’s worse for the environment. It would be like the schools offering a group discount on the latest climate change denier book.
Despite what the posters say, organic farms do use pesticides and whether something is synthetic or organic is not an indicator of its safety.
Stick with teaching kids about healthy nutritious food and avoid the ideology.