By Michael Hitch
Bondi is one step closer to restoring its famous Pavilion and putting an end to its toilet terrors.
The Bondi Pavilion Restoration Project has successfully progressed to the detailed design phase, with Waverley Council endorsing the community’s changes to the original concept design.
After a 28-day community consultation period in September, Waverley Council has endorsed new changes and is preparing to submit a development application (DA) in the first half of next year.
Mayor of Waverley, John Wakefield, said that he was thrilled to be preparing DA plans for construction but noted that community input and involvement will still be crucial throughout the process.
“We want to take the community with us on this, that’s the big issue,” he said.
“Where we’re at is that we’re preparing the DA plans – the detailed diagrams, – to submit for for construction work to begin.
“This DA process will also incorporate another 28-day public consultation period, the third we’ve had in a year on this project.
“We’re going one step at a time to the public as we progress the plans. So, we’ve achieved consensus, and universal support of council for where we’re at and now it’s time to move to the next stage.”
The first proposal for redevelopment came in 2016 after concerns raised by the Council and the community over the building’s deterioration. Since then, the Bondi Pavilion Stakeholder Committee was formed, and the community and Council have assessed design concepts submitted by Tonkin Zulaikha Geer architects. Tonkin Zulaikha Geer developed the original concept design as well. The concept included revisions from the first consultations, which called for an initial renovation of all amenities and a provision of technological facilities to “future-proof” the Pavilion.
In the second stage of community-feedback, Council endorsed other amendments which include a relocation of the Lifeguards Room on the Ground Floor to the outside of the Pavilion, a repositioning of the Tourist Centre/Box office to the North of the Entrance Foyer and a further increase in amenities.
Bondi Pavilion Stakeholder representative, Lenore Kulakauskas, said that the restoration of the iconic structure was well overdue and that the primary goal for proposed amendments is to ensure that the Pavilion stays within the Waverley community.
“The Pavilion had been let go for many years, it wasn’t properly maintained, and we were concerned about the state as far back as 2011,” she said.
“We have been very distraught, it was let go and if you look at the condition of it then you’ll see that a lot of work and many changes have got to be done and done now.
“As far as the changes go, such as the changes to amenities, it’s not a toilet block. It’s actually a building that can be used for a lot more than beach toilets.
“Obviously we wanted it to be kept it as a community cultural centre primarily, so the reason for the reconfigurations is so that community space can be increased … and the commercial use can be maintained so that Council is assured of an income.”
Owner of Bondi Rocks Media and Stakeholder Committee member, Mark Gould, said that a lack of amenities around the beach has been a key issue in the Pavilion’s proposed redevelopment and that such an iconic community space needed to be “relieved” of its toilet pressures in peak periods.
“They have to accommodate periods where there are events at the Pavilion and busy days at the beach when thousands of people need to relieve themselves. So, the committee has seen that this is a more holistic problem than just the Pavilion itself.
“We’re looking at installing toilet facilities elsewhere on the beach but most importantly we’re looking to upgrade our facilities at the Pavilion.”
While changes to amenities are still among the most pressing proposals for the Pavilion, Waverley Council also revealed plans to enhance the cultural connections to First Nations communities by investigating the introduction of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander “one-stop shop”.
Indigenous Greens Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Waverley, Dominic Wy Kanak, said that the “One-stop shop” proposed by stakeholder committee member, Aunty Rhonda Dixon Grovenor, would acknowledge and recognise Indigenous Australians as the cultural owners of the land.
“For the first Time in Bondi Waverley’s modern history, a Darug People’s Representative and Traditional Owner Supporters advised us on the past history and contemporary importance of the Bondi Pavilion to Our First Nations Community,” he said.
“Blackfellahs do not have a monopoly on intergenerational trauma, but Our People do have a specific unique and inherent right as Indigenous Peoples to an inalienable context from which any common ground, or exclusive cornerstone, must properly recognise prior and continuing ownership of cultural property. This is necessary in order to start restoring of Hope and progressing sovereignty through socio-political-cultural conciliation.”