By ALEC SMART
Waverley Council has closed the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk in response to Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings. The winding, windy 2.5 km walk, which hugs the coastline and affords majestic views of the Pacific Ocean from rocky peninsulas, sandy beaches and rugged coves, is a victim of its own popularity. Too many people are enjoying the seaside stroll, risking spread of coronavirus.
The walk, which attracts an estimated 8,000 tourists a day in addition to local residents, also hosts the annual Sculptures by the Sea exhibition and has recently been upgraded by Waverley Council to improve wheelchair access.
The Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, confirmed the decision to close the path was in the interest of public safety. “Unfortunately, closing the coastal walk was the only way the Council could help ensure that Public Health Orders could be maintained along the walk. Council is trying to balance the needs of our community, but we need our residents and visitors to adhere to social distancing in our public spaces.”
Access paths to the coastal walkway have been closed and marked with signs and barricades and Waverley Council Rangers have been granted the power to issue fines to people who trespass.
A Waverley Council statement said: “The decision has come after large numbers of people continued to visit our area despite our repeated calls for people to stay at home or find alternative places to exercise. There have also been some behavioural issues with people ignoring signs and Ranger instructions.”
However, Randwick Council, which manage the southern section of the Coastal Walk, from Clovelly Beach to Coogee Beach, have left it open for walkers, although they encourage tourists and non-residents to stay away until the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
All beaches along the complete 6 km Coastal Walk route, including Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, Gordon’s Bay and Coogee, remain inaccessible for the foreseeable future in line with social gathering restrictions.
Further south, Lurline Bay, Maroubra Beach, Malabar Beach, Little Bay Beach, Little Congwong Beach and Congwong Beach are also closed, effectively meaning the entire stretch of coastline from South Head in Watsons Bay, at the mouth of Sydney Harbour, south to La Perouse, at the entrance to Botany Bay, are closed to swimming and water activities. Frenchman’s Beach and Yarra Bay Beach in Botany Bay are also closed.