Waverley Council considers Bondi Beach club proposal

Bondi Beach. Photo: Athena Lao/Creative Commons 2.0.(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

Waverley Council says it is considering a proposal to section off a portion of the world famous Bondi Beach for an exclusive European-style beach club.

A council spokesperson said the municipality was assessing the proposal by the Amalfi Beach Club company to section off part of the beach for paid, private use despite knocking back a similar pitch from the company in May.

If approved, the proposal would see beachgoers pay $80 to secure a spot at the club for two hours, with local restaurants supplying food and drinks.

“While Council will consider all event ideas and proposals put before it, we must also balance the needs of the greater community within this consideration,” the council spokesperson said in a media statement.

The spokesperson said the council had rejected the first proposal for a number of reasons, including contravening policies which “do not support events on the sand in peak periods between December and January”. 

However, this new proposal would see the beach club operate outside those dates.

“The General Manager has since received a letter directly from the event organisers, proposing new dates of February to May 2021. This proposal is currently being assessed by Council Officers,” said the spokesperson.

Other issues remain, however, including the fact that Bondi Beach is officially an alcohol-free zone. 

The spokesperson also noted that “mixing drinking with swimming is a safety issue”.

Yesterday, Amalfi Beach Club founder Janek Gazecki claimed his pitch to the council had been misconstrued, denying the club would be for the rich.

“I don’t know if anyone has recently been to the Amalfi Coast … but the clubs there are not elitist,” he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.

“You just walk in off the street and you get pampered with some yummy food and alcohol and enjoy it with your kids – that’s all this is.”

The comments contradict a report in The Daily Telegraph, which quoted proposal documents outlining the expected clientele.

The men would be reportedly be “aspirational professionals such as doctors, surgeons, members of the finance industry (bankers & investors), as well as professional directors, business entrepreneurs and business owners”.

The female patrons would “occupy a similar high-end platform in areas of publishing, advertising, fashion, beauty and modelling”.

An online petition in support of the Amalfi Beach Club, had attracted almost 800 signatures at time of writing. 

The petition said the project was “a commercial initiative to revive Bondi Beach, support local business and lift community morale following the Covid-19 crisis, which has decimated the local economy”.

Several online petitions against the beach club have also been launched. 

Over 1000 people have so far signed a petition against the private beach club on the GoPetition platform, while a similar petition on Change.org has attracted almost 5000 signatures.

The Change.org petition organiser, Edgecliff resident Mel Levy, said Covid-19 and the need for social distancing would already reduce the number of people who can access the beach, and that sectioning off part of the beach for private use would only exacerbate the issue. 

“This proposal is quite simply un-Australian,” she said. 

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