By ALLISON HORE
Bondi is set to get a major safety upgrade with plans for a purpose-built first aid facility on the world-famous beach underway.
Now, when a beach goer needs first aid they have to go to the lifeguard tower to receive it. But, when plans are approved, the space under the promenade to the north of the lifeguard tower will be transformed into a modern first aid and incident management facility.
Matt du Plessis, Manager of Lifeguard Services and Beach Safety, said a purpose built first aid facility, separate from the tower, would allow tower staff to be able to concentrate on surf rescues.
“We never know when the next emergency will unfold, so to have a dedicated place for patients to receive first aid and for staff to respond to critical incidents means that our lifeguards in the tower can have all eyes on the water,” he said.
When there are strong rips and a big crowd, Waverley Council estimates Bondi lifeguards perform over 100 rescues a day.
The space set aside for the first aid facility is currently an empty tunnel sometimes used for storage by the Bondi Rescue film crew. When the transformation is complete, it will include a reception window opening right out onto the sand, a private first aid space, storage and locker area, toilets and showers for staff and an accessible toilet.
“The facilities will also improve comfort and privacy for patients, and match the quality of our facilities with advances in the professional lifeguard services that Council provides,” said Mr. du Plessis.
Bondi tower upgrades
As part of the plan, the iconic Bondi lifeguard tower, built in 2001, will be refurbished to repair damage caused by coastal conditions. Works on the tower will include the replacement of window glazing, awnings and the roof of the tower, as well as improvements to staff facilities.
Five demountable structures have been set up on the sand to facilitate lifeguards while the revamp is underway.
The upgraded lifeguard tower, and dedicated first aid facility, will make it easier for lifeguards at Bondi Beach to keep visitors safe. Even with a significant downturn of tourists as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bondi lifeguards carried out 600 rescues, 1659 first aid treatments and 10,877 preventative measures between September 2020 and April 2021.
Mr. du Plessis said as the number of visitors to the beach returns to post COVID-19 levels, the new facilities will improve lifeguards’ emergency response capacity.
“As we slowly return to normality, there will again be an increase in visitation to Bondi, and these new facilities will play a key role in how we respond to emergencies.”
Once planning applications for the project are approved, Waverley Council estimates construction will take 6 months, weather permitting.