Pavilion Makeover Done Over

A battle about renovating Bondi Beach’s pavilion, one of Australia’s most evocative buildings, has ended.

It took citizen action, union work bans, and a line-up of well-known Australians to win. Along the way, Waverley’s mayor – who campaigned for a $38 million “renovation” and privatisation of the structure’s upper floor – lost her job.

Bondi belongs to Australia. The union [CFMEU] is right behind the ban, and the union has got tremendous support. It will bring the union back to its great power that saved so much of Sydney." ~ Veteran unionist Jack Mundey of Sydney’s green ban fame.

The plan – for a “grand entrance,” new theatre, restaurants and cafes – would mean loss of public spaces used over the years for arts, crafts, music bands, yoga, and meditation.

Bondi Beach is one of the great icons of Australia. And the Bondi Pavilion belongs to all Australians, as does the beach – and in particular, it belongs to the community of Bondi. The Bondi Pavilion must remain a community centre.

Get your hands off the Bondi Pavilion. It’s not a retail centre, it’s our community centre.

~ Actor Jack Thompson. [video at Facebook]

Former mayor Betts and her business-friendly Liberals were voted out in favour of a Labor-Greens dominated council that has downsized the spend to around $20 million with a focus on renovation, not commercialisation.

You sting the Bondi community $38 million to do up the pavilion, but then you freeze them out of the finished product. Great plan, hey?

~ Actor Michael Caton

Mayor of Waverley, John Wakefield, wants the pavilion to be renovated but unchanged, with the theatre, music room, large ballrooms, and seagull room retained.

It’s a great lesson of what normal people banding together, working together, can achieve. This is a credit to the thousands and thousands of people across Waverley that took a stance on a local issue that was important to them and worked tirelessly for an outcome.

We live in one of the most densely populated areas in Sydney and we’re lacking in community space."

~ Kilty O’Brien, Save Bondi Pavilion campaign