It’s back to the future for Bondi’s seaside Pavilion.
It was considered exotic at the time it was built, and it may not be your cup of tea, but it is now classified as “iconic”, and it looks like the Bondi Pavilion is here to stay in pretty much its original form.
Waverley Council has lodged a development application to spruce up the Pavilion, which aims to restore rather than redevelop the heritage-listed building.
“It is the cultural and social heritage of the building that people mostly think about, but it also has architectural merit as well,” Waverley Mayor John Wakefield said.
“It’s a lovely building … I’ve used it for 35-odd years … [but] it’s worn out now, there’s no doubt about it, particularly the toilet and showering facilities.”
Council has opted for a low-key restoration of the building, at a cost of $27 million, in contrast with an earlier controversial $38 million plan from the then Liberal-led council.
The original plan was met with strong opposition from locals who believed the building was being overcommercialised.
The campaign was spearheaded by famous Bondi residents including actors Michael Caton of “The Castle” fame and Australian screen legend, Jack Thompson.
Former mayor Sally Betts, who oversaw the previous, more expensive plan, said the Liberal councillors would not stand in the way.
But she said the community has been sold short because, under the previous proposal, there would have been more toilets, a whole new theatre, art gallery and an additional music room.
“In the end, the Pavilion will be returned to its heritage values as it was, but other than that, all it is for $28 million is a paint job,” she said.
Celebrating Bondi’s beach culture
The latest plan emphasises space for the visual and performing arts, crafts and cultural activities and includes revamped amenities for beachgoers and better access for the public.
The Bondi Story Room in the middle of the complex will celebrate the history of Bondi’s beach culture including its Indigenous heritage.
The Pavilion is also getting a new roof of terracotta Spanish tiles, which were part of the original building’s eclectic Spanish mission and art deco mix.
Mr Wakefield said the council endorsed the plan after 50 hours of consultation with a community stakeholder group.
The plan is on public exhibition now, and the refurbishment is expected to begin in February next year.