Following reports that the Amalfi Beach Club had applied to Waverley Council to obtain exclusive access to a section of Bondi Beach, the Greens and Labor are combining with the local community to block the proposal.
An earlier plan submitted by the same club to privatise part of the beach was rejected by the council in May on community interest grounds. “Our beaches and parks are public open spaces, for the enjoyment of everyone”, the council said.
The private club says its proposal to fence off 1200-square metre section of the beach is about supporting local business and “lifting community morale” during the pandemic. It wants “high net worth individuals” to consume cocktails and gourmet food between November and February 2021.
Council replied in July, saying the proposal was “unsuitable” and sent a follow-up email in August. But the Amalfi Beach Club submitted a new application in early October, with new dates (February to May 2021).
While council assesses the new proposal, the community is making its views known on the Amalfi Beach Club’s Facebook page.
The Greens and Labor on Waverley Council are opposing the privatisation of public land.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said: “The culture of selling everything not nailed down has to be challenged. The community is already voicing their opposition and we agree with them absolutely.
Dominic WY Kanak, Greens councillor for Bondi ward in the Waverley Council, said: “If the beach belongs to anyone, it’s First Nations land. No parts of Bondi Beach should be the exclusive playground for the elite and the rich.”
Labor councillor John Wakefield said: “Commercialising a slab of Bondi, or any beach, for an extended period of time (months in this case) is not a good outcome.”
An opposition petition has been signed by more than 30,000 people. Outside of a pandemic, the beach can be packed with up to 40,000 people in summer. Even reserving 2% of it “displaces at least 800” in favour of “a handful of the elite” the petition noted.