By Emily Contador-Kelsall
Polo Ponies may be brought in to Bondi Beach next year to compete in the first International Beach Polo Tournament ever held in a major Australian city.
Waverley Council has agreed to host the International Beach Polo Tournament in May of next year at Bondi Beach.
Labor Councillor John Wakefield said the International Polo Tournament was culturally alien to the sands of Bondi, foreign in contrast to the skate boarding and surfing competitions Bondi regularly hosts.
“It’s [the Tournament] not quite culturally the kind of event that I am supportive of at Bondi”
Australia, England, America and Argentina would compete in the proposed 2015 tournament which would be televised locally and internationally.
Mayor Sally Betts said the proposed polo event was a prestigious international sporting event, which will help promote and showcase Bondi Beach to the rest of the world and could bring social, physical and economic benefits to Bondi.
“Bondi’s local economy relies on visitors. All sorts of events including, surfing, swimming, running, art, music, cultural and sporting events are hosted on Bondi Beach throughout the year.”
The council received limited information about the tournament’s management and potential impacts on the local community despite being both high risk and high impact.
The event would require significant infrastructure on and around the beach, with an estimated 4,000 spectators passing through the area.
Mayor Betts said the tournament was still subject to the usual final detailed approval processes.
“All major events at Bondi Beach including this one are subject to a rigorous list of conditions and requirements, including safety, waste management and noise regulations.”
Cr Wakefield said he was not convinced either way of the tournaments social, cultural and economic benefits to the Bondi Beach community, concerns that stemmed largely from the lack of information.
“There was a very slim and limited amount of information provided to make a decision.”