Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner helps Save Bondi Pavilion

Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner helps Save Bondi Pavilion

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Thursday, 02 June 2016
Interviews

Bondi Beach Radio station manager, and host of Super Venus radio show, Caraz catches up with ARIA Hall of Famer and local resident Dave Faulkner, front man of legendary Australian rockers Hoodoo Gurus, about the fight to save Bondi Pavilion

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Caraz: We have Dave Faulkner with us. Hi Dave

Dave: How are you Caraz?

Caraz: I’m doing alright man. I’m just really stoked that you are here at the studio

Dave: I’m pretty happy being here myself. Look at this place! One of the best views in Bondi …

Caraz: Yeah and if you look real close you can actually see The Pavilion! It’s right over there and that’s our topic of the day …

Dave: It is always the topic of the day around Bondi, but we actually have a reason to be kind of concerned about it at the moment, you’re right

Caraz: You know it’s not every day that someone you know with a background like yours, such musical talent, I mean Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame!

Dave: Oh yeah … that’s the ‘Sticking Around Long Enough’ award that one! If you do that you’ll probably get one!

Caraz: I’m getting the chills right now, goosebumps, because that is some big stuff … but listen what’s the skinny on the Bondi Pavilion, what’s actually going on because there’s a big misconception, I think there’s some information been thrown around …

Dave: Lots of information being thrown around … basically the Council has been letting it run down for a few years now and there’s been a plan to refurbish the Pavilion for a long time, and that’s long overdue obviously. And it was costed at being around 9 million dollars to do that about a year ago, and since that time suddenly there’s all sorts of grandiose plans to re-appropriate various areas and get rid of various tenants and change it completely, and in fact the price tag has gone up to 38 million dollars

Caraz: 38 million dollars!

Dave: And that’s what they are admitting to … they haven’t even told the full council yet what the exact plans are and all the other sorts of information about the project, the engineering design details, and the cost. Any of those things have only been known to a very few people in the Council, which you would think would be kind of anti democratic or something. You’d think they ought to know, if they can’t change the plan, they at least should know about it, but the Councillors, certain Councillors, we know who they are, have basically run it as their own private show, and we have to wonder what their motivation is … but regardless of that we don’t like what their plan is! Which is to take away the first floor, there is no longer going to be a theatre / cinema there, and the bar, and all those things, and give that to a private person to run as a business, as a restaurant. Which is something of course we have a complete shortage of in Bondi, restaurants, ..…

Caraz: Ok wow.

Dave: Yeah you know I’m being sarcastic here but the fact is that bit of real estate is very very valuable to someone and in fact its very valuable to the community who use it, and of course there are other things in the building that are being turfed out. They’ve all been given their marching orders in May next year, and no guarantee that any of them will come back. So any sorts of things you may have heard to the contrary from the Mayor or anyone else that there is a guarantee that any sort of community use will be back in there is not true. And as we know from any other development, whether it’s a block of flats, or whatever, once they’re approved often a Council can vary it and let you change it completely, even though people have been protesting. Suddenly they put in those things that were originally removed, they get a section 96, and the Council itself can change its mind, they can say ‘you know what, we’re not going to have a theatre at all now, it’s too expensive, we’ll just keep it as we originally decided’, which was to kick everyone out. So obviously we don’t trust them, we certainly don’t like what they want to do, and what they’re telling us that they want to do apart from that, is just not very reliable. So that’s what we’re on about

Caraz: That doesn’t sound very transparent at all.

Dave: That’s a very good way to describe exactly what’s going on. They’ve talked about consultation, they’ve been talking about it again this very week, the Mayor has tried to take some of the heat out of the situation and calm it down during this election campaign, by saying ‘we are going to talk some more to the community’. But they haven’t taken the step of saying the development is on hold, I mean nothings changed, from that announcement to the day before, other than the fact that they’ll talk to a lot of people. 750 people have lodged their opinions about this development, and only 6 of those people were in favour of it. 744 were against it! And that’s a lot of consultation right there that they’re not paying much attention to. So I don’t really expect their new consultation process to actually do anything, especially when they’ve got a gun aimed at us saying this development is already approved and going through, when there is a caretaker Council in charge of Waverley, Randwick, and Woollhara, that’s going to be a Government appointee of the State Liberal Government, and he has every power to completely start this project and not vary one thing.

Caraz: So he’s just going to walk in and be like ‘oh what’s going on, yeah go ahead’

Dave: Yeah there’s no election for another Council until the end of next year. They are saying Sep 2017 even that could be changed of course, you know it always takes longer than we expected. This is a gift for a dictatorship Government, if you were suspicious with what the motives in all this are, there are a lot of Councils around the State that are very nervous about things such as coal seam gas, things like that that have been fought by the local community, now there’s someone who is in favour of coal seam gas who has just been appointed the administrator of that Council for example.

Caraz: That’s actually really scary

Dave: It is scary, its basically not democratic at all. Obviously we’re not saying they shouldn’t have amalgamations of Council’s, that’s a whole other argument and one that we can’t buy in to, but speaking on behalf of our local community and what we are worried about with this Pavilion development, we have no input, there’s not even going to be a negative voice in Council saying ‘hey have you thought about this again’, you know they might be out voted, as every opinion has been outvoted by this current Council. You know when they did have one member stay away recently, I don’t know why, by some accident there was a minority of the Liberal members in Council that particular meeting, and a whole lot of amendments were passed … which they called a special meeting a few days later to rescind … one of the most important ones of course was the amendment to say will you please tell all of the Council what exactly is going on. And that was supposed to be in private. They didn’t have to tell the rest of us and make it public knowledge, but they didn’t even want that amount of oversight from even their own fellow Councillors.

Caraz: They’re just out of control

Dave: Well that’s right, it seems to be some people are going to get a lot of benefit out of this, but it ain’t going to be us, the local residents and the community. We’re going to be paying a lot of money for someone to co-opt our community centre and turn it into a commercial development, and certainly there is a lot of money to be made for certain people, but it ain’t going to be us – we’re paying for it! 38 million of which we only need to spend 9 of.

Caraz: You might have 10 people that are making money and then there are 10,000 that are going to miss out on all the cultural benefit

Dave: Exactly, as I said, its great real estate isn’t it. It’s right in the middle of Bondi Beach, great views, even better than the views you’ve got right here!

Caraz: Yeah, I’ll agree with that! At the Diggers Club we do have a very good view …. but there were some talks about a green ban?

Dave: Yes, that has just been announced last weekend. It’s an incredible development, because as you know there haven’t been any green bans in Australia pretty much since the 1970’s. Many people hold the green bans in very high regard because they saved a lot of heritage value in the Rocks and other areas that would have been lost forever. So when they came on board with this, it was a very strong vote of confidence in their belief that the community had a voice that was not being heard and aught to be paid attention to.

Caraz: It doesn’t even sound like the same Pavilion that I know. This is the Pavilion that has classes for kids to play soccer, karate, yoga … they have world class music studios there …

Dave: Exactly and Council are removing those saying ‘we promise you we are going to build some great ones somewhere else in the area … but we haven’t quite decided where yet’ and when and who is going to run it and who is going to pay for it. But they say they’ll do that because of course they want to kick people out and take it over, and put …  a Prada shop … I don’t know what they’re thinking of … its like other commercial vendors … but certainly the first floor, which is a prime part of the Pavilion, is going to be taken over. There was an amendment at the meeting I went to a while back … a few weeks ago … seems like a long time … they were incredible bun fights I can tell you … there was an amendment tabled that the Council, which has been talking so much about heritage values … that says ‘lets not alter the balcony on the upstairs floor’, so its not going to be turned into glass, and they wouldn’t let that one through either … so they’re going to deface the front of the building in a sense and change it. I’m not against changes, but when you add all the things up, it just gives you a pattern of disregarding of all values other than what they want to do for some people who are going to be occupying commercial areas at their behest.

Caraz: And right on Bondi Beach

Dave: Right on Bondi Beach. It belongs to us, therefore someone thinks they can take it away and use it for themselves.

Caraz: Those exact words are said when you do go around the world, and you see world class beaches, Venice Beach, you talk to a local, ‘the beach is ours’. You go to Miami beach, you talk to a local, ‘the beach is ours’. You go to Bondi Beach, what do the locals say? ‘the beach is ours’

Dave: Look we share it with the world really. There’s lots of tourists come here and they enjoy it. The Pavilion is there for them to enjoy as well. Its basically a service provider in this area, and you know, you use it for bathing and for toilets, and there are plenty of cafes in the Pavilion already, the Bucket List is a great business that has gone from strength to strength, and unfortunately they are earmarked for destruction in a sense. They’re going to reduce their footprint down to a quarter of the size. I guess to have them not compete with the restaurant that may be going upstairs. I don’t know what the logic for that is. Anyway the Pavilion itself is used by people from all around the world and we welcome sharing Bondi with all the tourists … its obviously a great place, we like to show it off … but at the same time it’s a very high density suburb, we all live here, we pay our rates, and we use the Pavilion for our community values. Things that aren’t in guide books, and aren’t provided by the Council really. We do it ourselves.

Caraz: About 3 or 4 months ago someone told me a story about the Latin American culture. When they were migrating to Australia in the late 70’s and early 80’s they were all welcomed at the Pavilion. I was intrigued because I have a Latin American background, I am from the island of Puerto Rico, and I invested in the Latin American Festival. When we hosted that festival, the reaction of the Latin American Festival being back at the Pavilion on Bondi Beach was so big, we had amazing responses from the crowds at the door. So we’ve been reaching out to those people around the Save Bondi Pavilion issues, and the big question for me is, what can we do to help as a community?

Dave: Right, well you know there is a concert this Sunday? And that’s between 1 and 4. Its free to everybody and its going on rain or shine. If its raining we’ve got the High Tide Room set aside as an indoor venue for it if we have to. But usually the weathers pretty kind around here, if it rains it goes away pretty quickly. And there’s a few artists playing …. I’m one of them …  I’m going to do a few songs acoustically …

Caraz: Yeah I saw that

Dave: And Reg and Pete, Dog Trumpet, are playing, and also local band Haze Trio who just won recently the youth rock festival in Wollongong, which is a state wide festival of new artists, and they were named best band of the event … previous winners have been people like Silverchair … so we think they are a pretty good talent to have on board! And of course a lot of the local community activities that are usually conducted in the Pavilion are going to have a bit of a showcase of their talents as well, so we’ll have Capoeira dancers and kids dancers and so forth, and its going to be a really fun afternoon for everybody and a way to kind of share our feeling and passion for the Pavilion and to hopefully move forward and keep our voices being heard by Government in the middle of this noisy election campaign. They are trying to shout us down really, and the Mayor was again with her announcement of extra consultation, without any meaningful change to the planning and the process …

So we just want to keep peoples focus on this, and keep moving forward, and gathering more supporters, and more people to just realise that you actually can make a difference if you come down and join in and let the politicians know that they can’t just use this as a bargaining chip for whoever they want to curry favour with that are contributing to their party.

Caraz: I agree. I’ll be there on Sunday, Bondi Beach Radio is going to be there on Sunday, and you’re going to be there on Sunday. So I’ll know someone!

Dave: I’ll wave! Yeah its going to be a really fun little event, and that’s what the Pavilion is good for, and we’re using it and keeping it as precious as we think it should be.

Caraz: I really want to thank you for coming on the program today, its amazing that you’ve taken the time out of your busy schedule to come see us

Dave: I’m not so busy these days! We occasionally poke our heads up out of our burrows and then we go back in again! I’m back in the burrow at the moment, I’m back in Bondi where I’ve been living since 1984, enjoying myself here. So this is part of my responsibility  as a local to keep it real.

Caraz:    Exactly, keeping it real as a local. Man you heard it first right here on Bondi Beach Radio. That was Dave Faulkner talking about the Bondi Pavilion thank you so much!


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