Bondi View

Tranquility tested as locals sample taste of things to come

The gazebo at Watson’s Bay. Photo: Emiko Reed.

BY EMIKO REED

It has been dubbed a “wedding factory” and local residents have said it will choke local streets on weekends.

But opposition to a development on the Watsons Bay peninsula now has some fire power behind it.

The director of legendary Australian film Mad Max invited Watsons Bay residents to the foreshore on October 15 to experience the ‘hellish’ noises he predicts will come from the development.

Oscar-winning Australian film director George Miller and his sound specialist Ben Osmo mimicked the expected noise that would emanate from the function centre if approved.

The National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) has proposed to lease six heritage listed buildings on Camp Cove and Gap Bluff for private functions.

As a Watsons Bay resident himself, Mr Miller said these sounds are expected to be heard right up to the early hours of the morning.

Residents have raised their concerns that the development will impact on public amenity, the local environment, traffic, parking, noise and public safety, and possibly damage the other heritage listed buildings nearby.

After Mr Miller’s noise display, a group of more than one hundred residents walked to the suburb’s national park to attend a meeting on the development.

NPWS, who hosted the meeting, seemed to struggle to provide answers to most of the residents’ questions.

Roger Bayliss, the president of the Watsons Bay Association, voiced his concerns towards NPWS’ proposals.

“We don’t need to have an intensification of the volume of traffic and noise, which the area is already saturated with,” Mr Bayliss told City Hub after the meeting.

“Our jaws dropped [when we heard about the proposal]. It is totally ill-suited to bring a function centre into the middle of a small, discreet and treasured national park.”

The proposed party venues are planned to open between 6am to midnight, and host functions for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week.

Additionally, guests will be able to stay overnight to ‘kick on’ the party all night in the site’s heritage listed homes.

Mr Bayliss described the plan as a “reckless proposal”.

“It threatens traffic, threatens road safety, and threatens emergency services into the area,” he said.

“People enjoy our national park for solace, peace and wildlife, not to mingle with party guests.”

At the meeting hosted by NPWS, NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton said that residents needed to collect 10,000 signatures to force NSW Parliament to address the issue.

“This is a bad process, it’s a bad project,” Ms Upton said in the meeting.

Claudia Cullen, a spokeswoman for residents’ group Save Watsons Bay, said it was necessary for residents to take action in the bid to stop the development.

“This is all our wake up call. We’ve got to make sure the minister knows that allowing 500 people to come to Watsons Bay every day is not acceptable. Our infrastructure just can’t take it,” she said.

Mr Bayliss said that it was not just about the residents, but visitors too.

“It’s about all those who enjoy Watsons Bay. Many people that like to come here cannot come if the parking, traffic, and public transport is stretched,” Mr Bayliss said.

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