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The Beast’s Monthly Mailbag

By The Wonderful People of the Eastern Suburbs on February 25, 2021 in People

Bronte Cutting Lighting Proposal
There are lots of things I would love to see Waverley Council spending its money on – fixing our potholed roads, sporting facilities for kids, affordable housing and getting rid of weeds from the verges and parks all leap to mind. Instead, it seems determined to spend the money raised from ratepayers and visitors on solving non-existent problems.
The latest example is its proposal to light Bronte Cutting at night. Perhaps it worries that walking there is dangerous? It absolutely isn’t. Hardly anyone goes there and those that do are happy to rely on the moon or a torch to light their way. Or is the concern cars? The odd car may pass by those out walking, but cars have headlights, the very purpose of which is to allow drivers to see what lies ahead of them. Council’s concern can’t be antisocial behaviour either, because that is not currently a problem. However, the addition of lighting may lead to it becoming a problem as more people may be attracted to the area at night.
If Council believes that Bronte Cutting is so dangerous that it must be lit up like a fun fair, then what about the entire coastal walk, or the cemetery, or Centennial and Queens Parks? Of course those places shouldn’t be lit up, and neither should this. It’s a lovely thing to wander through the Cutting and into Calga Reserve at night to enjoy the darkness of the sky and to watch the moon shining on the ocean. Council should leave things as they are so people can continue to enjoy one of Sydney’s few dark sky areas.


Bronte cutting lighting
What is it with Waverley Council? They seem to have so much money – maybe a night at the casino could help with that. How else can we explain their constant desire to fix things that are not broken?
The latest brilliant idea is to light up the Bronte Cutting. They just can’t leave it alone. It used to look like a quiet country road. First they put a sentry box at the bottom and a boom gate at the top. It all went rusty and seemed to stop working so they took it away. Then they put in parking lines, car detectors and solar operated parking meters. Then, more recently, they covered up half of that with the temporary footpath, ostensibly to complete the coastal walk.
You have to wonder about all this. Now they want to extend the footpath up to Macpherson Street… Why? It’s not even a part of the Coastal Walk. There’s a number of alternate routes.
To add insult to injury, they want to include lighting up the Cutting like a Christmas tree. Why? They seem to have completely forgotten that it’s a heritage item. So why this relentless attack on the historical Cutting, a treasured part of the local heritage, and why the repeated waste of money, with each new project covering up and demolishing the last?
Couldn’t they use the money for something useful? Surely there are parts of our LGA that could do with some of that money?
It really makes you wonder what’s next. Will they try to light up the entire coastal path? What about the wildlife? What about all the poor little creatures that try to live alongside the coastal path – they must be saying to each other, “Are the humans determined to light up every square inch of the globe? I can’t get a good night’s sleep.”
And what about sustainability – what is the environmental footprint of this pointless lighting?
There is already too much clutter and light pollution along the coastal path and in the Bronte Cutting. Please do not add any more and please stop wasting money.


Let Them Run Free
Joining the ranks of curmudgeonly old people with a tea cosy on my head, I write to express my bemusement at the Macca’s dog ban.
83 per cent of respondents to the council survey were in favour of dogs – a dream for any political party. I accept that some of the objections by the 17 per cent minority (dog faeces, scared kiddies) have some validity. Those objections are substantially outweighed by the sheer joy that a dog swim at Macca’s engenders for owners and dogs alike. I have not seen any scared kiddies, but I have seen a lot of delighted ones. Rarely have I seen dog faeces, but my experience has been that dog owners are overwhelmingly responsible about that issue, anywhere.
Properly analysed, Council said no because;

1. Council rangers don’t want to visit Macca’s as it’s apparently dangerous. When I hear OH&S objections by public authority, something is always afoot. Here is an idea; have a sign saying, “There are rocks, water and dogs here. It’s a matter for you as to whether you want to visit.”
2. It will cost money. No, it won’t. There is nothing to be done. Even if it did, perhaps Council could reallocate some of the (outrageous) misuse of ratepayers money spent on the COVID marshal stormtroopers we have had to tolerate over the last year.
I suspect that persons even more curmudgeonly than me are in the (noisy) minority, and that they have mates at Council.
While I do accept that a real risk of allowing dogs at Macca’s is that even more Instagram/black felt hat types may choose to visit, that is a battle which was lost the day that they pulled the sewer pipe out of Bondi.
Let the dogs roam free, you dull bureaucratic oafs.
Reay McGuinness


Duncan’s rant
What double standards you have; in one sentence you want young people fined for having fun, but when it comes to dog owners you want rangers to turn a blind eye.
You say most dog owners are responsible and yet every day there are fresh steaming piles of dog poo on the coastal walk. If you want zero tolerance then let it be for everyone.
The Bra


Dog owners did it again
As a dog owner in South Coogee, I couldn’t agree more with Ana (Dog Owners Did it Again, Letters, The Beast, February 2021). The path is already busy with runners and walkers. An unpredictable dog can cause a lot of issues. A friend of mine ended up in hospital with three broken ribs and a punctured lung because of an untethered dog running across his path. Luckily he received compensation from the owners, who were also fined, but his recovery has been long and painful.
In addition, our dog (who’s always on the lead) does not like other dogs coming up and sniffing her arse – fair enough – and she’ll have a go at the loose dog. It’s not safe, it’s the friggin’ law, so stop being self-centred tossers and do the considerate thing.
South Coogee


The clifftop walk between Bondi and Bronte boasts breathtakingly attractive views and is understandably popular. Some person in Waverley Council has suggested spending ratepayers’ money to produce an ‘alternative pedestrian route’ that would require trudging up Bondi Road from the beach, then traversing Sandridge and Alexander Streets, Gaerloch Avenue to Dellview Street and Pacific Avenue. It is fantasised that it will seduce pedestrians away from the cliff walk.
The fact that this route already exists and is rarely used as an alternative to the clifftop walk, which requires less uphill exertion and provides beautiful views, seems to be an irrelevance.
The lack of popularity of the proposed route is no mystery and is explained by the exertion required, the lack of views (other than of a hodgepodge of unsightly houses, flats and parked vehicles), the proximity of traffic, the resultant fumes and then the ridiculously narrow footpath in Gaerloch Avenue. The proposed capital works, which apparently include green pavements, will not mask this reality.
Why on earth would anyone prefer such a route to the fresh ocean air and spectacular views the coastal walk is blessed with?
It is not as though this ‘alternative pedestrian route’ is a secret requiring signage, as mobile phones and tablets provide ample pedestrian route advice. Imagine the sarcastic comments about it on tourist advice sites as an alternate experience!
Then, to complement this proposal, it is suggested that additional funds be expended by turning Gaerloch and Dellview Avenues into one-way streets. How this either relates to, or is necessary to, the ‘alternative pedestrian route’ is not explained.
To impose the inconvenience of more roadworks and traffic changes upon residents and to expend ratepayer funds upon such an ill-conceived venture is unwarranted.
You wouldn’t do it with your own money.
Greg Maidment


Boombox disconnection
Here are some suggestions to my fellow beachgoers who love sharing their music (and surely hate having their favourite track ruined by sound vandals): Play the same song as your towel neighbour, or use rock paper scissors to choose who can pump up the jam next. Alternatively, just enjoy the sound of summer and leave your gear at home for this time. I promise it’ll still be useful on that solo trip in the outback.


Hi Beasties – I’m a long time reader, first time writer. Bronte beach is such a great leveller, an open space where all are welcome, at least when nippers (parents) haven’t taken over.
I’ve noticed that when beach waves are too big for nipper boards (or parents), they take over the Bogey Hole. Is it appropriate for ‘water safety’ to tell other young non-nipper kids to get out of the way because “there are races on” inside the Bogey Hole on a Sunday morning?
I saw a board crash over the head of two young girls trying their best to stay out of the way and enjoy themselves. Just because you put on a hat and wear a ‘water safety’ shirt it doesn’t make you an authority, and it certainly doesn’t give you the right to lay your hands on someone else’s kid and push them out of the way in the name of ‘safety’, which is what I observed.

If you haven’t taught your kids how to handle decent surf, maybe sit it out for a week until conditions more suit current levels of experience. As far as I am aware, you don’t have the right to commandeer a small communal (and already crowded) public space for your own special club. And if you’re going to wear a shirt that says ‘water safety’, learn how to swim in the surf before you tell other people to move on.
Rant over,


That “offensive” cover
Dear Beast – Having recently moved from the Inner West, I was both delighted and amazed to find a lively local mag turn up in my Randwick letterbox… Congratulations James, and all those who help The Beast along – not for just surviving this last tortuous business year, but for running a publication which actually does what it claims and delivers to local homes. In my professional experience in publishing, that’s pretty rare. It certainly doesn’t happen in the Inner West any more.
But one thing did remind me of my old oh-so-woke stomping ground – the letter demanding an apology for your “sexist and racist” January cover. Though on turning the page and seeing that it was signed by someone claiming to be from “Another Planet” (Newtown, surely?), I began to think it was written by the artist herself, or perhaps the editor, stirring the pot? Tell us the truth now, James…
I showed the offending image to two sharp-eyed media critics, both female, before alerting them to the criticism. One suggested it represented “multicultural Australia doing a typically Aussie thing – going to the beach”, while my wife thought it just looked like “foolish people baking themselves silly on the sand” (she’s not a beach girl). But with everyone wearing masks, my take was that it was a clever poke at all those dishonestly distorted scary photos and footage of crowded Bondi (and now Coogee) beaches that we’ve had to endure recently – lazy shorthand for a ‘danger’ which is almost totally impossible in the open sunshine with a sea breeze. Whatever, it was fun. More please.
Russell Edwards


Amalfi Beach Club Pop-Up

Hi James – Thought I would drop you a note to share my view on the proposed pop-up Amalfi Beach Club.
As a long time resident of Bondi, a feature I have always enjoyed about this suburb are the pop-up events and venues that come to the area.
Olympic beach volleyball, the original ice-skating venue on the beach, Bowl-a-rama skate comp, the pop-up Grounds venue that came with Sculpture by the Sea and the outdoor cinema nights in Bondi Park.
For me these all contribute to the holiday feel that Bondi has. COVID has temporarily stopped these set-ups. It would be great to see them begin to come back in various forms, and why not try something new like a beach club?


The Sewer
Regarding the letter from your February edition, ‘Deadly Sewer For Buses’, I have wondered for a long time why there was no underground connection from the Bondi Junction train station/bus terminal to Oxford Street Mall or Westfield.
I wonder if anyone knows if there was ever an idea to do this, such as Westfield applying for such a tunnel, and if so, why didn’t it happen?
One would think that Westfield would pay a lot to have trainloads of people funneled into such a shopping tunnel and therefore the rest of the shopping centre.
Can anyone who works, or has worked, either at State Rail or Westfield please enlighten us as to the facts or history on this? And is there still a possibility of something being constructed, considering the dangerously high volume traffic of people and buses at this juncture?
Bondi Junction


Come On
As I flipped to the star signs section of the February 2021 of The Beast, I was genuinely disappointed. In the Gemini section was a deeply homophobic joke about the way some sections of our society have sex. Come on guys! It’s 2021 – discrimination for a cheap laugh is pretty disgusting.


Coogee Bay Road
Coogee Bay Road is the major access road to Coogee Beach. The implications of losing two-way traffic as a result of the ‘Shared Village’ Project are significant.
Emergency vehicles have been diverted to other streets, delaying responses to incidents and, for ambulances, delaying getting patients to the hospital. Bus services too have been diverted, leading to longer journeys for many locals who are dependent on buses.
Spare a thought too for residents whose streets are now congested and who now have to suffer the noise of idling buses and sirens day and night.


Coogee’s shared village project needed in Bronte
The successful Shared Village Project in Coogee Bay Road that has created a pedestrian-friendly and business-friendly street prompts thoughts of where else this might work. Perhaps the section of Macpherson Street, Bronte around Three Blue Ducks could benefit as the footpath width is inadequate, particularly during mornings.
Apart from navigating the hordes visiting cafes and queueing for Iggy’s bread, pedestrians contend with rubbish bins, signposts, the bus stop bench and planter boxes. A widening of the footpath or a shared thoroughfare similar to the new Notts Avenue pavement in Bondi could be a boon for residents, visitors and retailers. The safety of children would also be enhanced as the existing crossing at St Thomas Street is perilous.
Now that the long-awaited Woolies Metro is about to open, the need for improvements here is even more pressing.
Stephen Kovacs


Where are Clovelly Residents’ Rates Going?
I’ve been in Clovelly a few years now and noticed recently many of the Eastern Suburbs beaches are getting a facelift, especially toilet blocks like Mahon Pool, Maroubra.
When will it be Clovelly’s turn? At the very least the toilet block needs a facelift, or even a knock down. It is so awful, with a broken door and toilets that never flush. Considering the amount the government must collect from multi million dollar houses, where’s it all going? On bins… I see!


I am becoming more amazed by Randwick Council’s latest waste treatment project, FOGO. When it was first mentioned I thought it sounded like a reasonable idea. However, this has morphed into a complete replacement of all rubbish bins irrespective of the condition of the bin, so in our small block we have now received six brand new bins and the ‘old’ (two are less than three months old, and four others that were perfectly serviceable) have been taken away by subcontractors in unmarked trucks to be ‘recycled’. Our FOGO bin will be arriving soon.
As a ratepayer, I have asked the council what is the cost of this project. Replacing all the bins in this council area must constitute a major expense. At the time of writing, I still have not received a reply.
Obviously, Randwick Council must be swimming in excess cash, and this will be reflected in a reduction of our rates in the coming years.
I have lived in the area for 30 years and have admired the financial management and efficiency of the council and its services. However, in recent years fiscal responsibility seems optional – the extra increase of 18 per cent of a few years ago to “speed up” certain projects being a good example.
Councils are elected to manage the area and show fiscal responsibility, or have I missed something?


Endangered Species
I refer to Dave Sharma’s letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, dated January 13, 2021. There is a simple response to his ‘free speech’ message. Governments are halfway to extinction when they start blaming the media for their misfortunes.
Steve Barker


Not happy, Dan
To Annoyed, Coogee (Letters, The Beast, February 2021), whining about Dan’s Murphy customers not wearing masks – All Coles and Woolworths employees are following strict company directives to not mention masks. This ensures all the self-entitled morons who think ‘mandatory’ does not apply to them do not end up coming to blows with us low income workers.
We are not being paid minimum wage to enforce these laws, so maybe go pick on someone in a higher pay category who is, like a cop.


Nice One, Paul
Dear Editor – I was wanting to see if anyone else in the Bondi area has found themselves without access to internet infrastructure?
My provider decommissioned the broadband network to my street/building recently due to the arrival of the NBN. The same provider, in addition to my strata manager, also note however that the NBN has not ever been connected to my building in Jacques Avenue due to unresolved problems with the network.
The communications minister, Paul Fletcher, declared the NBN rollout complete last year, yet somehow I live in the middle of metro Sydney and not only don’t have access to the NBN but have now had my existing broadband disconnected. This is not ideal if anyone has to attempt to work from home in a health pandemic!
Offline Tom


Hi James – There’s a thicket of lantana in Queens Park, just down the hill, near the stairs, just south of Edmund Street. If Park staff won’t clear it, maybe it’s us ordinary people who’ll have to attack it?
It’s been declared a noxious weed, a real pest that will spread all over our beloved park. Watch out for the green spiky foliage and orange flower and hack some bits off if you’re passing, or spray it with a weed killer.
Peter West
Queens Park


Brave new world
The harsh blast of a Marlboro Red dries the back of my throat and a salt-infused breeze enlivens my sleep-deprived face. Surfers jog past toward the soothing crash of waves and dawn light in the distance. The sun’s rays hit Hotel Bondi, casting a gothic shadow in a scene reminiscent of a 1950s postcard of a far off unknown beach tourist resort a Welsh emigrant might send to his family in the valleys back home. By the trunk of the tree out front is an empty packet of Viagra and perhaps linked to it nearby is a plastic baggie which probably didn’t contain buttons in its history.
My 64-year-old bespectacled neighbour complains her Christmas was shit because her kids won’t let her smoke bongs. Next door a 50-something-year-old guy with a mullet reminisces about his time working on the rigs in Timor. I can hear the tick tock of the blonde Russian woman upstairs’ high heels strutting toward the entrance to the block, and wonder if my mate upstairs has a comparable hangover to me.
I walk toward Shuk café where they know my name, Christmas songs still blasting out. I go to press the button on the pedestrian crossing but no longer need to due to COVID innovations, but briefly wonder if I ever needed to and this was just something the government have now brought to our attention. Two people are hitting pads under the bridge near the COVID testing place. I double take to see if it’s boxercise technique or actual boxing and my smugness is satisfied they know what they are doing. The wind gushes at me and I gaze at the primal image of crashing waves with men dancing on top of them on their surfboards. Such powerful imagery every morning, it’s just as rough out there in the elements as it is in society.
A police riot van sits improbably on the concrete above the beach at 7am. I can hear the heavy breath and smell the sweat of joggers before I see them coming past. Down at muscle beach, bodybuilders in Speedos compare notes on workouts rather than doing any, two women in jeans have rigged up speakers and are doing squats, while one guy has a film crew following him around as he does half a pull-up. A surfer with boardies comes over and asks if he can sit next to me and we begin to solve the world’s problems, him a golf instructor, me a former aid worker turned cynic.
I see an older guy who hangs out at my boxing gym with his skateboard sitting on the grass. He has a hat on, a singlet showing giant arms that look like they have killed crocodiles, shorts, a shark tooth necklace and a tropical shirt. Where he goes every day I am not sure, but I’ve been meaning to try and find out his story for some time now. A group of older men sit on a bench near the bridge, I see them every day and it makes me happy that community still exists in this strange new world.
Coming up to new year, I’ve realised the importance of community to the fabric of society. Timor Leste excelled at having strong communities and that’s something the developed world has lost sight of. Being evacuated from Timor Leste in March where the pandemic hadn’t fully hit into an Australia I didn’t recognise and a lockdown I wasn’t prepared for was a surreal experience. Masked officials, fines because you didn’t have a valid reason to be out of the house, enforced quarantine. Like an Aldous Huxley novel without the mescaline to ease the ride. As the new year approaches and people are emerging into a new ‘normal’ world I hope Australian communities grow in resilience and connectedness so they can support each other better in good times and bad.