by Bernadette Anvia
It’s the redevelopment that’s had Bondi locals up in arms.
Four years after Waverley council warded off attempts to rezone their last remaining tennis courts to make way for 30 units and a community centre, residents are gearing up for another fight to protect their local sporting facility.
The Maccabi tennis courts, located on Wellington Street in Bondi, may soon be replaced with 42 new apartments and 49 parking spaces.
Following the council’s recent rejection of the planning proposal, approval has now been sought from NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward.
In mid-April, state member for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton arranged for Waverley mayor Sally Betts, along with a number of local residents, to meet with representatives from the Minister for Planning’s office and the Department of Planning and Infrastructure in order to discuss their shared opposition to the planned rezoning of the Maccabi site.
Ms Upton has frequently expressed her opposition to the rezoning plans, arguing that the redevelopment takes away open space that is vital for the community.
“[Maccabi tennis courts] provide a space for communal gathering with a focus on physical activity; the loss of such a space would be an immeasurable loss to the community,” she said.
Waverley Greens councillor Dominic Wy Kanak said the proposal is “fraught with negative impacts,” including increased traffic to the area and strains on local parking and infrastructure.
“Council should be seriously considering options which do not involve a change in the present zoning and [which] maintain the current low-intensity, open space recreational use [of the site],” said Cr Wy Kanak.
Having moved a motion in parliament expressing her opposition to the rezoning, Ms Upton said she will be writing to Ms Goward to request that the minister ensure the rezoning does not take place.
Residents’ action group Rescue Bondi has also been strongly active in expressing their opposition to the development plans by urging locals to join the ‘Stop the Rezone (again)’ campaign.
Similarly, Ms Upton encouraged concerned residents to contact her via email and vocalise their opposition to the proposal.
“There is strength in numbers, and it reinforces my argument to the Planning Minister that re-zoning this space is against the wishes of the local community and our local council,” Ms Upton said.