Man who wants to rope off Bondi for the rich hits back
The owner of Amalfi Beach Club, which is looking to take over part of the sand on Bondi Beach this summer, has hit back at his critics, saying he is "frustrated" to see the "rubbish" being shared about his new project.
Janek Gazecki, a Bondi local, has submitted a plan to council that would see a 30 by 40m area of the beach taken over by day beds and cabanas, with beachgoers able to book a spot for two hours that would cost $80.
On a petition to get the plan through Waverley Council, he notes the venue would attract those who had missed out on their yearly "sojourn" to Europe, where the idea of beach clubs is widely popular.
Mr Gazecki was slammed on 2GB on Wednesday morning, with host Ben Fordham claiming the club was "just not something we do in Australia!" and his plans for the club were widely criticised online as being a venue for the rich only - that would see locals without money effectively pushed off the sand.
Speaking to NCA NewsWire, Mr Gazecki said he was "frustrated" to hear of the reports, which he said were markedly false.
"It's not for the rich, it's for everyone," he said.
"The 80 bucks comes off your food and alcohol for the session, it's not an additional charge."
Mr Gazecki said the club would have a different local restaurant host guests for each month, allowing them to attract more business while remaining compliant with the COVID restrictions, and help to liven up what he suggested was a dying suburb.
"At the moment restaurants are struggling because of the capacity limits. This will give them access to 100 people per rotating session," he said.
"Don't forget they were shut for a long time, and the new restrictions are creating further (problems) for them - foot traffic at Bondi is dramatically down.
"Whenever you see those pictures in the news … it's the busiest day. I'm here right now and there's literally 100 people here.
"Don't forget, not every weekend is 30 degrees."
The events manager, who also runs Polo in the City, said Mr Fordham's remarks were not in the interest of the local economy.
"Does he want all the restaurants to shut down? Does he want them to? People have to spend money to eat at a restaurant. This is no different," he said.
"At every level we welcome feedback from the community, we appreciate constructive feedback, and we care what the locals think.
"But when you have people posting rubbish on Facebook and talking rubbish on the radio, that is a bit frustrating."
Mr Gazecki also argued there was nothing new in using the iconic beach for commercial purposes.
"There's plenty of commercial activities that take place here on this beach," he said. "Even the nippers are laden with sponsorship logos.
"During City to Surf, people are drinking on the beach … Bondi Rescue, that's a commercial enterprise.
"Our priority at the moment is generating an income for people, creating a vibrant economy again … bringing vibrancy back to Bondi."
Originally published as Man who wants to rope off Bondi hits back