The Beast’s Monthly Mailbag
What is Bronte Surf Club?
Bronte Surf Club has been a much loved institution since it arose from the community in the very early 1900s. It has done more than patrol the sands on summer weekends; it has had a very important social role the whole year round. But the current plans for the clubhouse make me wonder what its future role is meant to be.
Bronte no longer has a surf race. Bronte no longer has its Sunday Jog. Life members pay a large fee to hire the club for a celebration. The surf club gym charges a fee. The club appears to claim a membership of around 1,900 as justification for a huge new clubhouse, but that membership is very largely composed of nippers and their parents – members who only appear on Sunday mornings for a few hours, for about one third of the year. The nippers are a wonderful extension of the club’s role but, rightly, they are there for young children and only for a short period on a Sunday, for a small part of the year.
It’s busy at Bronte on weekends for about that one third of a year but the activities now seem to heavily involve running a shop, and the bar upstairs seems to be far more active than the club membership needs. The other two-thirds of the year it appears largely unused.
Go to Bronte during a week day morning during the swimming season. At the south end the Waverley community are swimming in the pool, swimming in the Bogey Hole, having a dip in the ocean, then showering at the southern end, sitting on the grass. It’s a very, very busy place. Then look at the surf club, locked up with nobody there except the professional lifeguards. You have to ask yourself, “What exactly is the Bronte Surf Club now, and why does it need such a huge building when it’s empty most of the year?”
Then there is the inexplicable decision to put the public amenities around the back, quite remote from the beach. Daily, swimmers will be required to walk around a locked up, empty building to get to the showers after a swim. The second-largest tourist attraction in New South Wales is the Coastal Walk. The only toilets on this section of the walk are toilets at the north end. So, a walker is now expected to search for the toilets and to find them around the back of the clubhouse? How bizarre is that!
I wonder what we are being asked to provide this building for. Is it for the community life-saving club we have loved for the last hundred plus years, or is it for a Gold Coast business surf club? Why do we continue to need trucks driving in delivering vast quantities of kegs to a membership that is there for such a limited time? Why must the swimming community be relegated to a toilet block so in-accessible and invisible around the back? Why must the “Pit” out the front, which is so much a part of the everyday life of the juniors, be sacrificed for a locked up block?
I suspect that the bulk of the members of the surf club who love Bronte do not wish to see this development eventuate. The club has changed and its social role now appears rather limited to one-third of the year based primarily around the nippers. Professional lifeguards are now responsible for saving lives so that role has lessened. The amenities are much more important than they have ever been. And why should the juniors lose their cherished space?
I believe I’m not alone in wishing for a design that fulfills the wishes of the swimming community and visitors to Waverley, something that does the real job in servicing the beach and does not create what may, perhaps, become a large bar, shop, and restaurant on the beachfront.
Hello James – Regarding the proposed development of the Bronte SLSC, many must be finding old scars starting to itch, having almost recovered from the Bronte RSL development fight. Surely we should know by now that “Greed is good”.
Public Parklands handed over for Private Profit
Centennial Park is a great resource to the community, but its requirement to be self-funded means that they now try and squeeze every last dollar from the parklands. Now, would you believe they even charge kids $5 to shoot hoops at the netball courts down at Moore Park?
First, they tore up half of the courts and built a synthetic playing field that is fenced off, padlocked, and alienated from the parklands. Now the few remaining courts, which were once open to the public and have been free to use for as long as I remember, have been handed over to the management of the adjacent tennis centre in order to squeeze a profit out of public land.
There are no fences or gates restricting public access to the courts, and no signs indicating fees and charges, or conditions of use that apply to what any reasonable person would deem open public space, but try and take your kids down there when the courts are otherwise empty to casually shoot some hoops or practice netball, and an employee from the tennis courts will scurry out and demand you pay $5 dollars and threaten you with trespassing if you don’t bow to this extortion.
This is a deplorable alienation of public space for private profit. Sure, it’s only $5, but it’s about the principle. Centennial Park belongs to the people of New South Wales; how long will it be before they charge you $5 to throw down a picnic blanket?
Yours in outrage,
I wouldn’t worry about Pearl’s column too much. I’m pretty sure it’s satire, poking fun at the faux hippies who still enjoy the trappings of capitalism, those who think tokenistic symbolism and voting green is the way to offset their privileged existence. Kind of like that anarchist who drives a Mercedes, the guy who thinks the GFC is a valid equivalence to the COVID pandemic, all while getting angry at the faux hippies’ favourite stereotypical evil villain, the Murdoch press.
Hop on the bus, Gus!
Before taking the 373 bus from Coogee and suffering Berejiklian’s latest fare hike, as well as the virtual elimination of the much loved “Funday Sunday” tickets, Gus wanted to check his Corona-App, but it didn’t work. Thanks, Scomo!
Let’s check Scomo’s home renovation grant, from which Gus was excluded – too many conditions. Thanks, Scomo! How about the Job Keeper grant? Gus was excluded. It demands more conditions than Abbott-Turnbull-Scomo’s global warming turbo-charging Adani mine. Thanks, Scomo!
Gus failed also to get onto the ABC’s website. Scomo had just forced the ABC to cut 250 jobs by deliberately underfunding the ABC. Thanks, Scomo! So, Gus looked around and saw a picture of a koala – it will be extinct by 2050 thanks to a Liberal Party favouring developers’ greed over animal survival, while also creating traffic jams and “No Parking” along the way. Thanks for that.
Finally, Gus looked out to sea to see one of the Liberal Party’s $100 billion U-Boats. At least Scomo’s Liberal Party protects Gus from Australia’s mortal enemies, like Mongolia and Uruguay. “Labor would only squander the $100 billion on health and education,” Gus wondered while enjoying the 50 ways to meet his lover…
Gus and Paul Simon
This will sound strange, but I want to put it out there: I have noticed a high-pitched continuous tone, like a transformer or an old TV, in the Randwick area where I live since May 1. It is particularly pronounced at night when it is quiet, particularly indoors where other ambient noise is less. It does wax and wane, but is pretty much there all the time.
I have tried but failed to pinpoint any directionality. It is bothering me but many people don’t hear it, or hear it and aren’t bothered. It is definitely something that wasn’t there previously.
I’ve gone through all the obvious things – tinnitus (it isn’t), and Ausgrid says it isn’t the power lines. An acoustics consultant I spoke to says this type of thing is understudied but there are probably a small percentage of people who can perceive electromagnetic effects and mentioned that 5G was switched on around that date.
It sounds strange, I know, but I can attest I am a scientifically minded person in my early 40s and have no agenda other than finding out what it is. Has anyone else noticed this?
Hi everyone – Just wanted to send an email expressing my appreciation for this magazine. I hadn’t heard of it before and, being given an issue the other day, it was great to see a section about a local artist! I feel like more local artists of all ages need to be encouraged to publicise their work, and hearing from someone who I coincidentally went to school with and am studying the same art degree as, it was great to read through the interview and learn of her progress and success.
Thanks for giving these opportunities to promote creativity and having this as another great platform for the community!
Just want to say thank-MWAH! to the lovely young people who peeled my silly carcass from the pavement after my swan dive into the concrete on Bronte Beach steps. I vaguely recall a mental rebuke to my cold feet to speed up in their thongs beforehand. Nose, knees and toes are fine. Near tears at the sight of your dear, concerned faces, my umbrella being carefully folded and many pairs of gentle hands resurrecting me like a misplaced sculpture by the sea. Sorry to anyone else who sensed a lumpy rug underfoot.
New Breed of Dog Owner
Is it just me, or is it possible there is a new breed of dog owner in town? Since the lockdown started to ease, I can’t help but notice that there are considerably more dog droppings on the footpaths. It’s everywhere; Hall Street, Glenayr Avenue, Curlewis Street, Campbell Parade and even the beach promenade itself.
What’s going on? Did a lot of people acquire new canine friends for company during the lockdown period and, like the child who gets a puppy for Christmas, lose interest once they realise they have to take responsibility for them? Perhaps the concern over COVID-19 has precluded other local considerations?
Whatever, I’m not the only one who has remarked that poo-cleaning etiquette has taken a nose dive. I haven’t seen so many footpath pies since the ‘90s when stepping in one was almost de rigeur. If you read this and recognise yourself as a possible culprit, please know that walking your dog and ignoring the inevitable results is not cool.
The Waverley Council website states, “Sydney dogs produce more than 1,000 tonnes of waste every day. Owners must pick up and appropriately dispose of dog droppings. We have dog tidy stations installed throughout Waverley.” I very much look forward to an unsoiled footpath soon.
Covid-unsafe Proposed Amenities Block
It was a joy to get your latest Beast publication, the only remaining news outlet for locals to express their concerns regarding local issues, and good to see the many letters against the proposed Bronte Surf Club overdevelopment.
What was missing, however, were any remarks about the COVID-unsafe effect of the new design. In this pandemic era, getting rid of social outdoor space like The Cubes in favour of enclosed spaces is COVID-unsafe. Same goes for the proposed amenities building, which is more confined and not nearly as spacious, airy and sunny as the present change rooms.
Andrew Goldfinch has not been in the present women’s change rooms – nor should he enter – but it is a popular area for women who want to change and have a cold shower, and a private change cubicle if they wish (or a relaxed ciggie away from the parents). The change rooms are also separate from the toilet area. And, Gail Leveson, why should we get changed in a dark cave?
Attack on local statues
Dear Editor – To the witless vandals who attacked Randwick’s statue of Captain Cook: Is this what your ‘woke’ activism has degraded into now; a sewer of outright criminality, groupthink and mob rule?
You sprayed this public work with the words, “No pride in genocide,” as if Cook himself were a latter-day Adolf Eichmann (when in fact he was murdered by Indigenes, not the other way around). Who do you suppose was elevated by your crime this week? Do you think Aboriginal literacy and life expectation will now surge as a result of your airheaded hooliganism? Do you seriously think that the first step to uniting a nation is to trash a neighbourhood? Grow up.
Rupert’s Toilet Paper
Visiting my local shop recently, I saw piles of unwanted toilet paper. Once hyped up by Rupert Murdoch’s media (plus others), today, toilet paper hoarding is truly so last month. Still, the media’s panic-making had forced factories to work overtime for nothing. Now, we are left with heaps of undesirable toilet paper. Rupert’s media hype was, as Shakespeare would have said, “much to do about nothing”.
Meanwhile, Murdoch’s “ever-Scomo-supporting” NewsCorp was forced to acknowledge that Australia is in recession. It happened on Scomo’s watch – a triple failed PR man who first gave us the failed “Where the hell are you?” campaign, then the failed “bushfire handshake”, only to be followed by the failed “Get off my grass” PR gig.
Never mind! Murdoch’s press (plus others) has convinced Australians that Scomo is great and his Liberal Party is good for the economy, while Labor rises taxes. Looking back, the opposite emerges. It was John Howard who gave us the GST, the biggest tax hike in recent memory, and it was Labor’s treasurer, Wayne Swan, who avoided a recession during the GFC in 2008/09.
PR man Scomo likes to blame COVID-19 for his own economic mismanagement. By contrast, Wayne Swan got on with the job and became “The world’s best treasurer”, a fact that even Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian had to acknowledge. Otherwise, the media is working hard to keep the urban myth alive that the Liberals are good for the economy. Thanks but no thanks for the recession, Scomo.
Thomas, the Mercedes-Driving Anarchist
I’ve noticed that you guys seem pretty big on sustainability, but that doesn’t really mesh with the way the magazine is distributed. Everyone receives it (even people with no junk mail signs), and unfortunately a lot of people are going to throw it out right away. Most people who don’t will throw it out once they’ve finished reading it. This is a problem because it’s printed on hard to recycle, plasticky, glossy paper.
It would be fantastic if the magazine was printed on recycled, matte, compostable paper instead (you could even use this as an opportunity to work with compost revolution and have them plug their initiative in a small spot in the magazine where you say the paper is recycled/compostable). I know I’d appreciate the free compost food, and I think that would be a fantastic way to practise sustainability as well as talking about it.
Development at what cost?
Hi James – Apparently there is the possibility of a bit of an article going into The Beast about developers and the devastation they are wreaking on Bondi.
It may sound like a NIMBY thing, but for someone who has lived here all my adult life and given much to the local community, I speak from the bottom of my (broken) heart when I say developers are ruining my life.
Opposite me currently are two blocks; one a house, and the other a small block with two or three flats. The developer will be building five flats on one site with a basement car park and a three-story gym with swimming pool, cafe and basement parking. The operating hours will be seven days per week, 18 hours per day – goodbye peace.
The legal floor space ratio (FSR) in both cases has been usurped; one apparently because of affordable housing, and the other… well, there is no reason why it has been passed. My 100-metre street already has two knocked down houses with rebuilds going on for years, purely for the almighty dollar.
From the time the building starts (the site is 20 metres away from me) there will be very loud non-stop noise, major dust issues and no parking, because of the dozens of tradies who park wherever they can and are never booked (they have a golden pass, apparently).
I will leave my home. Yes, after 30 years here, Bondi will lose an active and giving lifetime member – it’s sad. Why? Because some dude wants to make more money. Why else? Because the New South Wales Government condones it. Development is their raison d’être.
There is a human cost as their stadiums, endless flats, roads and unnecessary and unused tramways wreak devastation on homes and lives, not to mention the loss of animal habitat (and breathable air) with the wanton destruction of beautiful trees. My understanding is that Waverley ‘Planning’ Committee is the arbiter of all this. Well, what a lot of power they have. Why is it that Council is unable or unwilling to stick to the legal floor space ratios?
P.S. I believe the gym is the same developer as the monster in Castlefield Street.