BY PAUL PAECH
Watch out, Bondi! Big property developers are planning a total re-make of your beach.
And their plans are for the same glitz, traffic and noise that blights most of the east coast of Australia.
As the Daily Telegraph said, they want to ‘turn the once eclectic beach community into a millionaires’ playground’.
They started a few years ago by taking advantage of the extra height given in the 1920s to the Bondi Diggers for their social club. There, developers created an offensive but highly profitable palazzo of 18 luxury flats, which they had the nerve to call Cadigal after the original Aboriginal tribe.
Now Sydney developers can’t get enough of the Bondi profit pie:
‘ Despite community opposition, Waverley Council approved conversion of the smart wallpaper-style 1960s Bondi Motel on Campbell Parade into a gross bloated 1980s-style apartment block. Once built, The Bondi will be strata’d into multi-million dollar flats, providing the backdrop for Australia’s most famous beach for generations to come.
‘ The same developers spent $135 million on the huge Swiss Grand Hotel. They want to add even more floors plus an enormous shopping mall, to increase retail space in Bondi by a whopping 40 per cent. The excessive height of the current building was granted because a hotel benefited Bondi, but these allowances could now be used as millionaires’ apartments. Recently, instead of rejecting this proposal outright (as every official report recommended), a slim majority of Liberal councillors and former Labor mayor George Newhouse decided that it may not be such a bad idea, and asked for refinements to the plans.
‘ The majestic old Bondi Hotel, directly opposite the Swiss Grand, recently applied to build (yes!) more luxury apartments plus another shopping arcade. Narrow Gould Street would carry the extra traffic, and become even more congested and overshadowed.
‘ Then there’s the crazy plans for a 135-room hotel plus luxury residential tower plus shopping arcade on Hakoah Club and three adjoining sites in Hall Street. Council allowed the Jewish community to build these oversized clubrooms because of the social benefit, but it has clearly zoned Hall Street as local small-scale community activity. Who knows what might happen’
‘ Plus Ravesi’s has approval to expand along Hall Street, and Noah’s Backpackers at the southern end of Campbell Parade and the Furniture Market and the adjoining block of flats in Jaques Avenue are also up for redevelopment.
Make no mistake: the battle for Bondi will be tough, but unless locals and others get busy real soon, the Bondi Beach the world knows and loves will disappear before our very eyes.
Find out about what’s happening and above all, make sure your local councillor knows your views.
Bondi Beach is far too good to lose. You can start right now by joining this group: www.tinyurl.com/57s42w