The architectural firm Tanner & Associates, commissioned by the Pavilion Beach Group, took up most of that time. The publics response to what they saw as too little time to be given notice of the meeting, and a blatant attempt to privatise the building and upset the symmetry of Bondis favourite and famous icon generated hostility amongst those present, again, this time in an official capacity, the concept plan and model were rejected, and the letters of objection flowed into Council, not one was in support of the proposal.
It was decided by those attending that the concept plan to severely alter the southern end of the Pavilion would not have any positive impact for the Bondi Pavilion and definitely would not prop up Council Revenue to maintain the alleged nearly $1 million upkeep of the Pavilion. And to suggest that the new design would attract visitors to the new restaurant, with competitors just 200 metres away, such as MacDonalds, Hungary Jacks and Taco Bell giving family deals at a price normally reserved for a cup of coffee at the Pavilion, the public could not see any optimism of the Beach Café and Bar attracting enough customers to offset the upkeep.
The pressure to convince the public to support the proposal resurfaced at the following Precinct meeting, with more incentives such as minor amendments to the concept plan, and more information that the design would compliment the Pavilion and not affect the heritage listed design, the public was not impressed and immediately recognized that the amendments were veneer, again the proposal was rejected with hostile remarks coming from the public.
The extension and alteration was to cost approximately $600,000, the public saw that damage to the building and further obstruction to public viewing of the unique façade design would be permanent.
On December 9th 2002, a private meeting a few hours before the Bondi Beach Precinct meeting was held at Waverley Council Chambers with only a select few attending, it was made evident that this meeting was not to be a public meeting, yet on an official document held at Waverley Council after the event, states - PUBLIC MEETING HELD ON 9 DECEMBER, 2002.
This is misleading and deceptive to say that the public was invited to the meeting. On the 10th December 2002, Waverley Council voted on the proposal to be approved officially, with minor amendments, I was there earlier in the meeting and saw another concept plan not seen by the community, the design showed the northern end of the Pavilion with a mirror image development as the southern end. I approached Michael Magnus for a copy of that concept plan, he refused, saying something to the effect that it was not an official design to be used, only an imaginative idea and that he had no idea of using it. This I did not believe, why would an expensive detailed design be commissioned if it did not have an important part later on, why commission an architect to create such an expensive design just for the sake of it.
With this in mind I said that I could retrieve a copy from Council, as they must be in possession of all plans, unofficial concepts as well as official plans, Magnus replied that Council did not have this particular design.
The need to acquire this concept plan was to show the public that there was a newer design, and that it was used without community consultation, that the plan was not made available to the public, and that it was not part of the documents made public at the time of submission, and that the public had the right to view this new concept plan, regardless of what was said to me.
Although I was not present at the vote, documents can be obtained of the outcome; it couldnt get any worse than what was to come.
It was predictable that Labor would support the proposal, as well as the independent, but it was a shock to read that the Liberal member for Dover Heights, Councillor Sally Betts had voted in favour of the proposal, although her colleagues and the Greens had voted against it. The mayor cited at the time of voting a section of the Local Government Act 1993 - Section 374, it reads: -
374. Certain circumstances do not invalidate council decisions
Proceedings at a meeting of a council or a council committee are not invalidated because of:
(a) a vacancy in a civic office, or
(b) (b) a failure to give notice of the meeting to any councillor or committee member, or
(c) any defect in the election or appointment of a councillor or committee member, or
(d) a failure of a councillor or a committee member to disclose a pecuniary interest, or to refrain from the consideration or discussion of, or vote on, the relevant matter, at a council or committee meeting in accordance with section 451, or
(e) a failure to comply with the code of meeting practice.
It is very difficult to ascertain the reason why this particular act was cited at Council, especially when sub-section (d) allows Councillors to vote even if they have a pecuniary interest, what was the reason for citing this act.