It's a hard pass from us.
Sydney folk are divided over a new proposal to erect a roped-off, 'Euro chic' beach club on Sydney's Bondi beach, where patrons pre-book $80 tickets for two hours of exclusive time in an exclusive area being served exclusive food and alcohol on exclusive bay beds under “socially distanced cabanas”. I mean, we're kind of intrigued? But mostly disgusted.
The proposal, as reported by the Daily Telegraph per news.com.au, includes a snapshot of the type of professionals who would frequent the Bondi beach club, and naturally it all comes down to your gender. That’s right, according to the proposal, the men in the Instagram-friendly "day club" would ideally be “more likely to be doctors, surgeons, bankers, investors, professional directors and business entrepreneurs” but the women would likely have roles in “publishing, advertising, fashion, beauty and modelling”. And look, fair enough. Male surgeons and directors? Sophisticated. Female surgeons and directors? Huge buzzkill. Seriously though, who came up with this proposal? Are they from the past? Did they watch The Wolf Of Wall Street on a loop during lockdown? What happened?
Turns out the mysterious figure behind the idea is Bondi resident Janek Gazecki, who is also behind an Urban Polo events company. Speaking with The Guardian this week, he reckons that while the idea is modelled on affluent European beaches like Mykonos and St Tropez, he denies the plan is elitist. Janek reckons the club will “boost local morale” and help get businesses impacted by COVID-19 back on their feet. “From our end the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” he told The Guardian, though we're not sure what feedback he's talking about. “It’s excellent for the local economy – local restaurants get more business," he said.
“It’s not like regular beachgoers will need to pay to access the beach, this is just an opportunity for there to be a slightly more cosmopolitan way to enjoy the beach,” Gazecki stressed.
And hey, the guy may have a point. I mean, who can argue with the option of going to the beach and being able to order a cocktail? Kicking back under a cabana and enjoying some tunes? I mean it's nice, it's different, it's unusual. Should we all give Janek's idea a break?
Nah. There’s something that feels wrong about puttting an entry fee on areas of natural beauty, and Australia has a history of resistance to ventures that could block public access to the beach. So it makes sense that a luxury club catering to individuals "enjoying a high disposable income within the 25 to 45 age bracket" offends local sensibilities about how we envisage the beach: an open, egalitarian space where everyone is welcome (that's all bullshit of course, but let’s not go there).
For now, it’s unclear whether the plan will even go ahead. The initial proposal, submitted in May 2020, was rejected by Waverley council, citing concerns about booze-fuelled swims during Bondi's peak season and well as the area’s alcohol-free status. “Our beaches and parks are public open spaces, for the enjoyment of everyone,” Waverley council spokeswoman reportedly said to Guardian Australia, channelling that egalitarian fantasy we all know and love.
The council is now in the process of considering a subsequent proposal, so Bondi’s Amalfi Beach Club could be setting up its “elegant fencing” on the southern part of Bondi beach this very summer. What do you reckon, Sydney friends of the appropriate age, profession and income bracket? Would you be down for some pre-booked time under a shady cabana?
Reena Gupta writes op-eds and other hot takes for MTV Australia. More of her work here.
Main Image Credit: The Wolf Of Wall Street, Paramount Pictures