Travel Trouble

Politician vows to stop “un-Australian” plan to rope off Bondi Beach for exclusive club

Politician vows to stop “un-Australian” plan to rope off Bondi Beach for exclusive club

Planning Minister Rob Stokes has labelled a man’s proposal to rope off part of Bondi Beach and charge visitors to enter as “un-Australian.”

Janek Gazecki, who is a Bondi local, is seeking approval from Waverley Council to take up a small section of Bondi Beach for an Amalfi Beach Club, where visitors can pay to sit in a cabana and be served food and drink right on the iconic beach.

Visitors will have to pay $80 for a two-hour spot on the sand.

However Mr Gazecki will have to fight to get approval for the club, as Mr Stokes has the ability to veto the proposal as the beach is Crown land and the club requires permission from the landowner.

Mr Stokes has the ability to put himself forward as the consent authority, which means he can stop the plan dead in its tracks.

Mr Stokes told the Sydney Morning Herald that the plan is “elitist and un-Australian”, and vowed to “step in and stop it”.

“Flogging off a bit of Bondi for the so-called beautiful people is one of the ugliest things that could be proposed,” he said.

“Our public spaces and beautiful beaches are to be enjoyed by all – not cordoned off like in the south of France or the United States for only those who can afford it.”

While some people believe the idea for an exclusive beach club, others have criticised it for favouring the wealthy.

When speaking to NCA NewsWire back in October, Mr Gazecki said he was “frustrated” that some believed the club was only for the rich.

“It’s not for the rich, it’s for everyone,” he said.

“The 80 bucks comes off your food and alcohol for the session, it’s not an additional charge.”

Mr Gazecki said the club would only take up about 0.5 per cent of the beach and there would be enough space for visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The proposal for the business plan states that they will be targeting people with a “high net worth” and a taste for luxury.

“Our database constitutes a select demographic comprising of individuals enjoying a high disposable income, within the 25 to 45 age bracket, with an interest in travel, fashion and luxury goods,” the proposal states.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the proposal also included an outline of the type of professionals that would frequent the facilities.

The proposal detailed men were likely to be doctors, surgeons, bankers, investors, professional directors and business entrepreneurs.

It went on to say women attending the beach club would “occupy a similar high-end platform”, and have roles in “publishing, advertising, fashion, beauty and modelling”, according to the proposal.

The club would also have a different restaurant host each month.

“At the moment restaurants are struggling because of the capacity limits. This will give them access to 100 people per rotating session,” Mr Gazecki said.

“Don’t forget they were shut for a long time, and the new restrictions are creating further (problems) for them – foot traffic at Bondi is dramatically down.

“Don’t forget, not every weekend is 30 degrees.”

The Waverley Council initially knocked back their first proposal to run the beach club between November and February, deeming it “unsuitable based on Council policies and in the interest of our local community”.

“Our beaches and parks are public open spaces, for the enjoyment of everyone,” a Council spokesperson said.

The proposal was denied due to Council policies not supporting events on the sand during December and January.

Bondi Beach also prohibits alcohol consumption on the sand due to the safety concerns around mixing drinking with swimming.

The beach club has now put forward new dates for the event to be held between February and May next year, which is still undergoing review by the council.