Bondi View

Beach climb on the ropes

Dmitri Maskovich on the Ben Buckler Rope

Waverley Council will revisit safety issues at Bondi Beach amid calls for the popular Ben Buckler climbing rope to be taken down.

In January, Bondi Beach “bar brute” Dimitri Maskovich lost his grip on the rope, plunging five metres to the rocks beneath and breaking both legs.

According to Waverley Council, the 48-year-old’s case poses stern questions regarding the safety of local residents and visitors to Bondi Beach, and whether an iconic feature like the Ben Buckler rope can be maintained for future generations.

Mayor Sally Betts acknowledged the popularity of extreme sports, but stressed that council does not condone them.

“Although there are people who enjoy extreme sports, council does not authorise or support any of this kind of activity at Ben Buckler Point, or anywhere in Waverley,” she said.

“These sports are obviously very dangerous, not only for the participants but for the people who have to rescue them if something goes wrong.”

The council’s main concern with the rope appears to be the disproportionate strain it can place on public services, particularly during busy times of the year.

“Our lifeguards often respond to these incidents, which diverts their resources away from the beach, when they are already so busy. Additionally, the police, ambulance service and the SES on occasions are called as part of the rescue,” Cr Betts said.

Under the Civil Liability Act, council is protected from litigation as the activity is deemed an obvious risk. In this instance, any person injured is presumed to be aware of the risk of harm. Bondi Beach Precinct convenor Lenore Kulakauskas believes council have their priorities out of order.

“If council have no liability, then what are you gonna do? Start banning everybody from driving a car because they might have an accident and stretch resources?” she asked.

“It’s a bit of a crazy argument as far as I’m concerned.”

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