Why is Council proposing such an extensive upgrade to the Bondi Pavilion?

Council has a responsibility to ensure that the Pavilion is maintained, restored and appropriately managed for current uses and for future generations.

Council is the Reserve Trust Manager of the Bondi Park, Beach and Pavilion on behalf of the NSW State Government. The State appointed Council to manage the Pavilion, which sits on a Crown Reserve, for the purposes of public recreation, for the public at large.

It’s been many years since the Pavilion has had any major upgrade or conservation works. During this time the building has been intensively used and sits in a harsh and damaging physical environment. Both the community and the many millions of visitors to Bondi Beach have changed over time, and it is important that such a culturally significant building keeps pace with the demands of an evolving community and visitor base.

This is not the first time that the Pavilion has been upgraded. Over its long and colourful history, it has changed form a grand ballroom to a theatre space, from Turkish Baths to cultural and event spaces. 

This is a further period of consultation and engagement on the Bondi Pavilion project. What happened to the 700+ submissions that were received in response to the initial consultation phase. Has anything changed?

Council considered the community’s feedback at their meeting of 16 April 2016 and as a result of this feedback, a number of amendments were made to the concept plan and associated documents. The changes are outlined here. 

At Council meetings in April and June, Council requested a number of additional reports to inform Council’s future decision making. Given the level of community interest, council was also prompted to undertake this further period of consultation and engagement with the community.

Why not just undertake maintenance and repairs to the existing building and save money?

Council’s proposed upgrade and conservation works will do much more than provide a “patch-up”. If you take a walk around the building or have a look at our video you will see many areas of disrepair and dysfunction which require significant works to address. Importantly works undertaken on the building during the 1990’s have resulted in obtrusive modern additions that are today considered to be unsympathetic to the heritage of the building. Part of the proposed conservation works involve removing these additions and restoring the façade and symmetry of the original building. This proposal has received much support in heritage circles.

This project also provides an opportunity for Council to implement environmentally sustainable initiatives into the building that will see it receive a 5 star green star rating in accordance with best practice.

The investment in this project will ensure the Pavilion remains a viable and vibrant community centre, now and for future generations.

Will all the community space be replaced by commercial operators?

No, Council has always balanced commercial use of the Pavilion with the needs and aspirations of the community, and will continue to do so. The classes that are currently run from Pavilion spaces are provided by commercial operators - local small businesses for the most part. This will continue.

The removal of additions on the ground floor which are unsympathetic to the heritage of the building, will mean a reduction in commercial space across the building.

Council has also considered options for the allocation of commercial space on the first floor, to both address the reduction of commercial space on the ground floor and provide better amenity for all users of the building.

The plans for the proposed upgrade show the balance of community and commercial space and also highlights those areas where decisions are open for discussion through this further consultation process.

Council is also proposing to develop a Fair Use Policy in consultation with the community and users of the Pavilion to ensure equitable access for all.

Why does there need to be commercial space at all?

The upkeep of a large and historically significant building carries with it significant costs. All commercial revenue derived from the Pavilion goes towards maintaining and repairing the building. What this means is that less ratepayer dollars go into the upkeep of the building. Every dollar derived from the Pavilion reduces the burden on Council rates.

Commercial operators provide the cafe, restaurant, classes and a range of activities that the community enjoy and are an important part of the mix.

Also Council has always balanced commercial use of the Pavilion with the needs and aspirations of the community, and will continue to do so.Since the 1930’s the Pavilion has always included commercial uses and commercial leases.  Many of the operators in the building today run businesses providing commercial classes and the café and restaurants provide a service both to the community and to the visitors to Bondi Beach.

Where will the community classes operate from if additional space is allocated to commercial use?

Community classes will continue at the Pavilion.Council is currently in discussion with the commercial operators who run paid classes for the community such as dance classes, martial arts classes, yoga classes, gymbaroo, recreation and fitness classes to ensure that the new design accommodates their requirements. This combined with the Fair Use Policy, will ensure equitable access for all.

Council is committed to further discussion with operators and with the users of these spaces.

Why is Council moving the theatre from the first floor?

The current theatre suffers from a number of design and technical issues which limit its use and flexibility. These include significant sound transference issues, limited seating due to sight lines impacted by columns and a lack of flexibility to function as a performance space suitable for drama, film and music. In addition, moving the theatre opens the 1st floor to a range of community and commercial uses.

The theatre is difficult to access and its lack of visibility affects its commercial operation, to the extent that there is no longer an operator managing the theatre and it is currently underutilised.

As a result of the first round of consultation on the proposed upgrade and conservation plan, the initial design for the theatre on the ground floor was amended to include a box office and ensure linkages and protected access between the theatre, dressing room, green room and toilets.

Council is committed to further discussion about the location of the theatre.

Why does the concept design propose to move the music and recording rooms from the Pavilion?

The current plan allows for music rehearsals, concerts, jamming, choir rehearsal and other music uses in new community multi-purpose spaces at the Pavilion. The music recording studio is underutilised and a purpose built music recording facility is not currently included in the plans. Council has resolved to investigate the best location in Waverley for a music recording facility.

Council is committed to further discussion about the location of the music facilities and recording studio.

How does the proposed concept design affect the exhibition and gallery space?

The amended concept design will significantly increase the amount of exhibition and gallery space and provide opportunities for heritage exhibitions, heritage interpretation and public art. Council is committed to maintaining and enhancing exhibition and gallery facilities.

Does this project include an underground car park?

No, the Bondi Pavilion Upgrade & Conservation Project does not include an underground car park. 

There is mention of car parking in the ten year Bondi Park, Beach and Pavilion Plan of Management.  An action included in this Plan is that Council will investigate the long term possibility of pedestrianising Queen Elizabeth Drive, and relocating those car parking spaces to a potential underground car park.  

The potential underground car park would be in Park Drive, adjacent to Campbell Parade, with a green roof that would provide additional parkland.  If the proposal proved feasible, this would see a 15% increase in recreation and green space at Bondi Park.  

This is entirely separate to the Bondi Pavilion Upgrade & Conservation Project. 

Why doesn't the survey just ask yes or no?

This survey is an opportunity for everyone to have their say. There's not always a black and white answer so a scale is provided to gauge level of interest. This is a standard survey methodology.

I want to give more information than the survey covers.

The consultation process has been designed to enable a range of feedback opportunities. You can register to attend a small group discussion or submit your comments via email to pavilionconsultatioin@waverley.nsw.gov.au. There are also information booths in various locations across the Council area where you can find out all the opportunities to have your say, which are also listed on this site.

Can I talk to someone instead of filling in the survey?

Yes, the best way to do this will be to register for one of our small group discussions. We also have information booths that are staffed to answer questions and direct you to the appropriate feedback opportunity. 

How do I give my opinion if I don't think the survey asks me the right questions?

The survey allows you to make an individual comment at the end of each survey question. In addition you can you can register for a small group discussion or make a submission to pavilionconsultation@waverley.nsw.gov.au. You can also attend an information booth or call Council's Customer Service Centre on 02 9083 8000 for more information.

Can Council carry out the $9 million plan?

In December 2015 Council commissioned a costing for doing minimum repair and compliance work to Bondi Pavilion, and the cost estimate was approximately $9 million including GST. This costing was reported to Council in December 2015. The costing was for comparison purposes only as a “base case” and was based on the current layout of the building. This ‘base case’ minimum works costing did not include facility upgrades, and did not meet the directions in the Bondi Park, Beach and Pavilion Plan of Management or the Council-set scope for the project. The current amended concept plan instead includes heritage conservation and upgrades, in addition to repairs and compliance work.