The Beast’s Monthly Mailbag – March 2022
First Things First
Thank you Bronte
My name is Chris, a long-time Bronte local and co-owner of Three Blue Ducks. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the support that the local Bronte community has shown me and our business over the years.
From the first day we opened our doors we were flooded with curious locals. We didn’t really know what we were doing or what we had gotten ourselves into, just three young guys having a crack. The neighbouring shop owners, other local businesses, tradies we employed, new and old friends, staff, customers, the Hutto’s… everyone came to lend a helping hand, offering their skills, their advice and their friendship. Many of those friendships are still as strong as ever. I was witness to true community spirit, and it helped us build a foundation for the years to come.
That was over 11 years ago, and how our lives have changed in that time. Most of us have since left Bronte and have kids, but we still hold Bronte dear in our hearts. As many of you might know, we have decided to close our restaurant on Macpherson Street. We are moving over to let some new young enthusiastic individuals have a go at following their dreams. Please come and say g’day at the Plastic Free Bronte Beach Clean-up, starting at 10am on March 26, with a barbecue from 12.30pm. From all of us at Three Blue Ducks, thank you.
Pearl’s Fan Mail
With regard to Pearl’s problem with our Premier’s large family, it seems that she has an issue with traditional Christianity (A Man for Our Times, The Beast, February 2022). Does she feel the same way with other religions, say Islam or Judaism? Maybe, but Australia’s birthrate is declining and the elderly are living longer and someone has to pay for that.
Surely a society that encourages people to work, rather than being dependent on welfare, is preferable. Both the Premier and his wife do so in order to support their family. Pearl, “equal outcome” never got anyone anywhere. Marxist ideology had its chance in the last century, and what a disaster that was.
I was shocked by Pearl Bullivant’s attack on Premier Dominic Perrottet and by your magazine’s caption “The baby maker” under his photo. While the diatribe was disrespectful and undignified, the caption is also an affront to all who venerate parenting and cherish the value of family. Bringing children into the world and raising a family should never be an object of derision, but rather a cause for respect and admiration. The family is, after all, the most humanizing institution in human history.
Dr Aryeh Solomon
Please Be Reasonable
Put your hands in the air if you feel sorry for poor old Pearl Bullivant. I guess we’re all allowed political opinions, even the far left should perhaps have a voice from time to time. But poor old Pearl seems to have completely lost her way when she takes to attacking the family unit.
To criticise the Premier is one thing – let’s face it, from time to time all politicians deserve a little stick – but can one really criticise the Premier, or anyone else for that matter, for “proudly brandishing his large family as the cornerstone of a functioning society”? I’m sorry, if the family is not the cornerstone of our society, then what is?
And not only that, Pearl continues and criticises the Premier for “encouraging others to participate in his zeal for overpopulation”. Call me old-fashioned, but since when has wanting a large family been open to being criticised as being “zeal for overpopulation”? Dear me. I think poor old Pearl, clearly, an only child, has finally lost the plot.
Further, the Premier is criticised by Pearl for allegedly “forgetting that his own private schooling, law degree, white skin and LNP pedigree wedges him firmly in the evil elitist corner”. Oh, I see, someone who was lucky enough to have a private school education, smart enough and diligent enough to earn a law degree, someone who by happenchance was born to two parents with white skin and someone who has a political penchant different from Pearl’s, is somehow an “evil elitist”.
Come on, Pearl! I’m not sure whether this is a classic case of jealously or sour grapes (it sounds like it) or whether poor old Pearl simply does not understand that the word ‘elitist’ is quite different from the word ‘privilege’. Elitism is a belief, but having white skin, a political view and an education is not an automatic entry pass into an “evil elitist” club. Don’t let your prejudices get in the way of reasoned political commentary.
A Good Read
The Beast was once a fun-filled read. How does any publication in our great country print the disgusting opinions of such a biased author as Pearl Bullivant? Her opinions are an affront to our democratic society. The Beast should not become a vehicle and mouthpiece of political leaning and return to its roots of providing entertainment and a fun-filled read.
I’m writing to express utter frustration with Pearl’s constant reference to Mt Druitt in all things negative. She obviously has had an insular Eastern Suburbs perspective on all things, socially and economically.
I am always grateful that I grew up and worked on the coal face of the Western Suburbs and understood, although not always agreed with, and empathised with others’ unfortunate circumstances.
Pearl, I have observed but not judged the same social problems in the Eastern Suburbs. Like illness, demography is not a barrier and neither is intellect! Being clever doesn’t equate to putting others down.
Local, State and Federal Government Issues
Bondi Junction Cycleway
Norman from Bondi Junction has hit the nail on the head with his comments on the new cycleway in Bondi Junction (Refurbishment?, Letters, The Beast, February 2022).
It is indeed an expensive folly and makes a complete joke of State and Local Government claims to be improving Bondi Junction. You do not improve the pedestrian experience by reducing the width of a footpath in a very busy section of the Junction and then placing a high-speed cycleway adjacent to the narrow path.
Pedestrian safety is now at risk with high-speed cyclists (e-bikes anyone?) tearing through the centre of the Junction where pedestrian activity is greatest. Hazards abound and there is even a blind corner at Spring and Bronte Roads which will doubtless see corner cutting cyclists collide with pedestrians. The worst collisions will occur when pedestrians are hit from behind – unexpectedly. To make matters worse, cyclists continue to use Oxford Street Mall (Maul?) with alarming regularity, showing that the entire scheme has failed.
Currently there are no proper rules in NSW to guide courts when they are confronted with cycle induced injuries or death. Identifying the perpetrators is just one of the many problems police will be presented with.
Indeed, with e-bikes there will be no proper regulation until there is a proper inspection and registration regime in place regarding e-bikes.
It was not that long ago that mopeds (bicycles powered by mower engines) were deemed to be unsafe and illegal and taken off the streets. I have seen e-bikes on the streets running at around 50km/h without being pedaled. Put those e-bikes into a pedestrian area with insufficient brakes and the consequences are obvious.
Response to letter about works outside Westfield
The Bondi Junction Cycleway and Streetscape Upgrade goes from Bondi Road to York Road. Cyclists are already enjoying around 5,000 return trips a week on the completed cycleway sections.
This project is being funded by the State Government as part of their cycleways program and built by Waverley Council on the State Government’s behalf.
Works along the current worksite (Oxford Street between Bronte Road and Bondi Road) will be completed around the middle of the year. Works stopped over Christmas to allow busy summer foot and vehicle traffic to be uninterrupted.
When these works are completed, the footpath outside Apple will be returned, with a bus stop off the footpath. The entire route is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Acting Director, Community,
Assets & Operations,
Don’t be Bluffed
Dear James – Claims that Charing Cross needs “revitalising”, or “rejuvenating”, are the words of the Charing Square developer (Charing Cross Redevelopment Raises Community Concerns, The Beast, February 2022). His rationale for wanting to upzone sites south of the Robin Hood Hotel is bluff. Locals agree that maybe the shopping strip needs more historic building restoration, a coat of paint, posted awnings dripping with plants, consistent graphics and better signage, elegant lighting and litter bins, and the scatter of abandoned wheelie bins taken off the footpath. With 100 per cent occupancy of the shops, it does not need an oversized development to make it vital. It is thriving now.
People like their local strip, they like the diversity of small shops servicing their daily needs, they like entering from the sunny, airy public street, avoiding crowded shopping malls. Bondi Junction’s dank, windy streets and enclosed Westfield Centre is no longer such a drawcard in these COVID times.
Consistent application of the nine-metre height limit since the 1990s has given Charing Cross’ heritage the respect it deserves. An eruption of tall, bulky, modern buildings to the south of the Robin Hood would destroy the quality and character of this vibrant urban haven. We need to stick with low rise, support all those business owners and shoppers who love its friendly scale, and remind developers that fitting in may give them their best future, as demonstrated already at several infill sites in the strip. Let’s keep planning controls as they are, which already allow for quality infill and heritage restoration.
Charing Cross Catastrophe
The residents are rightly upset! The illustration accompanying the article in your February edition shows why. Clearly the illustration reflects the heart of Bondi Junction and not Charing Cross. Charing Cross is a living intersection with a six-way junction, and this gives the Cross its special presence. Moreover, it is the acute junction between Carrington and Bronte Roads with opposing triangular allotments that set this intersection apart from the norm.
The current planning proposal is for one of these triangular allotments, and because of the narrowness of the building envelope at the intersection it is imperative that the existing nine-metre height limit be retained. If not, the charm of Charing Cross will be replaced with an overbearing ugliness that can be seen in the core of Bondi Junction.
Charing Square Not Needed
Good afternoon – I was reading the Charing Cross Redevelopment Raises Community Concerns story from the February 2022 edition of The Beast. I am wondering why Charing Square is required? The Charing Cross area in Waverley, which I have called home for years, is a great community of people and businesses that are supportive. I think that we have enough available shops and businesses that encourage our own viable economic position within the Waverley LGA.
We are close to Bronte Beach, and of course Bondi Junction, but we don’t want to be subjected to an increase of height limit, which is also in the planning proposal. We already have Bondi Junction. We don’t want over-towering. The current planning controls should stay, as we don’t want to be an area of overdevelopment, because if the planning proposal is approved and the change of zone is then gazetted, what is to stop others from thinking they can do the same?
I was also looking at the plans and the images regarding the proposed Charing Square (which will have a DA if the planning proposal is approved), the upper floor apartments (with shops underneath) will be right next to the cell towers of the Legion Club. Those cell towers will stay, so those who live in the apartments will have a nice dose of radiation. I doubt anyone would want to live near that.
‘Charing Square’ Redevelopment
Here we go again with the third reincarnation of the ‘Charing Square’ spot rezoning. Originally the owners of the Robin Hood Hotel told us they wanted to build 24 metres high, with a tower that resembled a high rise car park. They vowed that it would not be economically viable if they could not go that high.
That was refused by the NSW State Planning Panel. Then they then went for a smaller tower that was 18 metres high and again they told us it was not viable unless they could go to that height. That was refused too by Waverley Council. Now they want to build four storeys at a height of 13.5 metres, and again we are told that it is not viable to build lower than that!
They have produced all sorts of reports from consultants who swear that they cannot make any money if they adhere to the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) that sets the height and FSR limits for the Charing Cross Heritage Village.
Yet many property developers have achieved a balance between redeveloping in the area and making a profit, while preserving the heritage and low rise of Charing Cross Village. These include 235 Bronte Road, the site of the QE store with commercial and residential accommodation. Approved by Waverley Council around 2009, it shows a redevelopment of three storeys (the top floor set back) that fits within the LEP. You will notice at 314-316 Bronte Road that the redevelopment in 2000 of the former site of a motorcycle shop and the House of Lattice is also a good example of what can be achieved following the guidelines of the Waverley LEP. The former Jakks Bakery at 306-312 Bronte Road was also redeveloped in 1999 and is in keeping with the guidelines for heritage conservation in Charing Cross. And there are many more examples of sustainable and quality redevelopment in this heritage shopping strip.
Yet the Developers of Charing Square seem to lack the imagination and spirit that has preserved and enhanced this special location. If what they are proposing is not viable then they need to go back to the drawing board and look at what has been achieved successfully to the benefit of the community and profit margins by other property developers. Then they are more likely to build something that will be accepted by the community as well as benefit themselves. Otherwise, they should pass it on to someone who knows how, and stick to pulling beers!
Charing Cross Village Precinct
Waverley Council has advised residents that it will be placing speed bumps around the Municipality.
I say, “What a waste of money.” Every main road in Waverley already has a pothole that does the same job. The one in Murray Street is big enough to swallow a motor scooter!
Risking Dom and Scomo
In the The Beast’s February issue, Pearl writes, “for Dom, the function of government is to manage opportunities rather than risks”. Indeed, the very opposite is the raison d’être for governments to exist. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown this. In times plagued by pandemic risks, we need a functioning government preventing the virus from killing Australians.
Instead of “let it rip” (Dom) and off-loading responsibility onto others (Scomo), we need what the demagogues of neoliberalism want to destroy – a functioning state-run health system for everyone (nobody is safe, until all are safe!), functioning border control (not Ruby Princess-like debacles), a functioning police preventing people from going where they should not go, etc.
Yet the neoliberal idea of managing opportunities suddenly disappears when it comes, for example, to refugees like the Biloela family, whose opportunities have been destroyed by Scomo & Co.
Worse, Dom’s off-sider Scomo is currently wasting $220 million of hard-earned taxpayer money on 107 refugees at Nauru. Even shoddier is the fact that a company called “Construction International” has been awarded its eighth “non-competitive contract” to provide six months of “garrison services” at Nauru. Suddenly, the much trumped neoliberal ideology of free market competition vanishes into thin air when Scomo & Co. hand out “non-competitive contracts”.
The company’s total revenue from island contracts is more than $1.2bn over the past five years. Thanks to Scomo and the Liberal Party, it costs more than $2.8 million a year to cage one human being on Nauru – almost $8,000 per person per day. How about giving all 107 people the money for just 10 days – $80,000 each – and save us taxpayers $1.2 billion?
Dave Sharma’s claim to have quashed the oil and gas exploration permit PEP11 is a bit rich, even for Wentworth standards.
Dave, himself a recovering Lib, along with his Liberal colleagues apparently lobbied Liberal State and Liberal Federal Governments to overturn the Liberal exploration permit. Great work, Dave!
We are all relieved that while the dirty oil and gas industry is no longer welcome on our beaches it does look like a simple but very welcome Liberal backflip. Just as an aside, if NSW had a 4,500 kilometre stretch of coast from Newcastle to Manly, as quoted in the February edition of The Beast, then we would have a lot more beaches to enjoy. Newcastle to Manly – 60 nautical miles, I know!
Other Local Happenings
The Coogee shark attack
I read with interest the account of the shark attack on 18-year-old Coogee Surf Club member Milton Coughlan on February 4, 1922.
My late father, Jack Singer, was there on that fateful day and was swimming a short distance from Milton when the shark struck. In later years dad would vividly recall the attack and the bravery of the two men, Jack Chalmers and Frank Beaurepaire, who risked their lives in an attempt to rescue young Coughlan.
Dad said that he felt a bit of a coward in not doing more in the rescue of Milton Coughlan, however he was just an 18-year-old lad from the country and not a particularly good swimmer. Moreover, in witnessing the attack he said he was ‘mesmerised with fear’.
Coogee SLSC is to be commended for funding the restoration of this monument commemorating this unfortunate event 100 years ago.
Mystified of Maroubra (Where Are the Body Shamers Now? Letters, The Beast, February 2022), may I suggest that you get out and about more often. At Bronte Beach there are very few overweight women (and indeed, men). On the contrary, as a casual observer (very casual!), I see very slim young girls getting about in the briefest of swimwear. Twenty or so years ago topless was all the rage.
I wonder sometimes what the future will hold.
I live in Dellview Street, Tamarama, and walked down to the beach this afternoon for a surf. On the way to the beach, a man was whipper snippering a lawn outside a block of units. He couldn’t mow the lawn as the grass was too long. He didn’t look like a professional as he had plastic bags covering his shoes to stop the grass from getting into them.
When I finished my surf and walked back up the hill, he had gone. The footpath was clean but the amount of cut grass left in the gutter was disgusting!! He left the cuttings one stormwater drain away from both Tamarama and Mackenzies Bay. He’s obviously not a swimmer or surfer, otherwise, he would understand what it’s like to be in the water with grass clippings and all the other rubbish that gets washed down our stormwater drains!
Surely this is classified as illegal dumping and he should be fined? Councils supply green bins for a reason. Just because of pure laziness, our beaches get fouled up. In this day and age, it is totally unacceptable!
I write this letter to all owners of motorcycles, particularly those who insist on riding at very high speeds, with extremely excessive noise pollution, through the Eastern Suburbs late at night, and most of the day on weekends.
I wish to know why you are all so intent on doing this when you are in highly residential areas and cause nothing but unwelcome and frustrating noise?
I am not denying your right to own a motorcycle, I just seriously wish that you’d respect those residents you annoy, and drive with far more care and far less noise!
A concerned and very frustrated resident
VALE THE SOUVLUCKY COUNTRY!
What a loss the closing of The Souvlucky Country Greek café and take away in Bronte Road is to our community. Thank you to Harry and Maria for their years of providing the very freshest Greek food. There’s nothing like it in the Bondi Junction area, and we will miss you more than you’ll ever know.
Stop helping yourself
For the sake of the message I am championing in this piece, I will be brief, curt and to the point. Self-help is about reflection, and reflection is necessary, but it is not the baseline of your life. Your life is happening all around you, not in your head. Every time you reflect, you essentially third-person yourself to the narrative you’re living in. Why would you want to be in third person for your story? Why would you want to be the omnipotent voice that is judging and analysing everything in your story to its bitter demise – and it will be a bitter demise if you analyse it too much. Why would you want to put the upmost significance on every single thought that pops into your head; do you know how narcissistic that is? Are you so wise and important that every thought you conceive is worth writing down and picking apart as if it’s biblical wisdom? You have no idea where your thoughts come from, and you never will.
Stop defining useless terms like ‘authenticity’ and ‘being yourself’. Stop trying to intellectualise everything. Stop telling people about your values and instead let people see them. Stop convincing people you are on a journey to sound good and enlightened and self-aware. Cut all of that, you don’t need it. When something needs to be reflected on, you’ll know, because reflecting on it brings a sense of clarity and calm and you no longer feel compelled to explain yourself to anyone. You just acknowledge and move on instead of going further down the contrived, overthinking rabbit hole.
I don’t like writing about any of this stuff and I don’t like reading it either – although I do believe that a well-timed self-help book can be transformative (just like a well-timed reflection). However, I have noticed a growing trend of self-help addicts who do nothing but consume ‘helpful’ knowledge and judge others who they believe are shallow and don’t think as deeply as them, purely based on the fact that these people don’t incessantly talk about self-help and are actually trying to enjoy themselves and the things they do.
Stop living in your head. You have things to do, so get to it.