Botany Bay proposal to convert Eastlake Golf Course into major public park

The Eastlake Golf Course could be in for a transformation under a long-term vision for Botany Bay. Photo: Brendan Esposito Eastlake Golf Club, Daceyville is the proposed site for a major public park. Photo: Brendan Esposito
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Golfers like Paul Saltoon will be upset if the course is lost to the sport. Photo: Brendan Esposito

It might take 15 years, but Sydneysiders could one day enjoy 65 hectares of new, uninterrupted parkland just 20 minutes drive from the CBD.

The proposal would see the 18-hole Eastlake golf course converted into a major new public park, as part of the City of Botany Bay’s Vision 2040 Directions Paper; the penultimate step in the 25-year vision for Botany Bay.

“The last five years has seen around 3000 new dwellings added to the Botany area, with another 4000 expected in the next 10 years … people need access to public space,” City of Botany Bay Mayor Ben Keneally said.

The announcement comes after a Fairfax Media report on Monday found NSW councils have sold, developed or reclassified more than 20 per cent of public urban open space in the past decade.

The situation has been described as “incredibly alarming,” by Nature Conservation Council chief executive Kate Smolski, meaning Tuesday’s proposal to increase open space in Sydney’s east should be welcome news.

“With urban consolidation and the desire of more and more people to live closer to the CBD, there is an increasing population that wants places to enjoy Sydney’s great beauty,” Mr Keneally said.

“The Botany wetlands are beautiful, but they are a hidden gem. They’ve been locked up inside these golf courses and inside industrial estates.”

Mr Keneally said, while private sites were once a great way to protect the wetlands, “we now know communities value these great ponds and lakes and the social and environmental heritage they contain, and they would love better access to them.”

The park would connect from Gardeners Rd, Daceyville, all the way to Sir Joseph Banks Park on the shore of Botany Bay, following the course of the Botany Wetlands.

Neighbouring the public Eastlake Golf Club is the exclusive Bonnie Doon Golf Club, The Lakes Golf Club (both owned by Sydney Water) and the country’s most eminent, The Australian Golf Club.

The land on which the club is situated is owned by Sydney Water and leased to the club, which is currently operating on a 25-year lease.

While there is a 25-year option to renew, the current lease will expire at the end of December 2025, falling well within the time frame proposed for the parkland project.

“We’re not proposing to destabilise their existing tenure. It’s in line with security of tenure they currently have.

“The club’s response has been that it will be a matter for the landlord to determine, being Sydney Water.”

Calls by Fairfax Media to Eastlake Golf Club general manager George Kozis were not returned.

A Sydney Water spokesperson said it would work closely with the relevant parties on any future plans for the Botany Wetlands.

“Ultimately, Sydney Water will work to ensure that any future use of the wetlands provides benefits to the community and environment.”

But not everyone would be pleased with the idea. Paul Saltoon has been playing golf for more than 20 years, and often has a hit at the Eastlake course.

The Bondi local said he “would be pretty upset if the course was taken away for that use”.

“Even if you only play three times a year, when you’re on that golf course you feel like you’re away from all that Sydney hustle and bustle.”

The Botany Bay 2040 Directions Paper also proposes a plan for the council-owned Botany Golf Course to be converted to provide more sporting fields to a wide variety of organised sport such as football, league, netball and rugby.

Mr Keneally said council would be working closely with stakeholders over the next 20 years on the site’s transition.

“The proposed parkland should become a significant addition to the Centennial Parklands as it follows the same hydrological flow path as the Centennial Ponds and boasts historical plantings from the era of when the Royal Botanical Gardens were established.”

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Taylor’s rooftop bar lifts the lid on Sydney’s Republic Hotel

Sky high: Taylor’s at the Republic Hotel. Photo: SuppliedSydney’s rooftop bar and food movement has a new pin-up. Taylor’s has opened at the Republic Hotel, on the corner of Pitt and Bridge Streets, in the CBD.
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It’s a rooftop space with a difference, owner Patrick Ryan peeling away the roof cyclone-style to create the space.

“I’ve been told people usually get convertible cars, not convertible pubs. But it has let us keep the old features, like the heritage windows,” he says.

With vertical garden, copper barrels, exposed beams and a clever menu from former Morrison chef Lee Thompson – including prawn tacos and roasted five-spice chicken with coleslaw – Taylor’s is the latest in an expected new wave of open rooftop CBD venues.

As well as sympathetic weather, Ryan believes Sydney workers crave outdoor spaces as many spend all day inside on computers.

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Banc chef Paul Camilleri opens Eat Burger in Cronulla

Newbie: Eat Burger in Cronulla. Photo: SuppliedThe opening of Eat Burger in Cronulla has put Paul Camilleri in an exclusive club. Not because he has launched yet another Sydney burger joint, or served 4000 burgers in his first week.
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And it isn’t because wagyu and pork belly burgers are among his bestsellers in a suburb that used to be known as Chicko Roll central.

No, it is because Camilleri follows Warren Turnbull and Justin North as the latest chef from the fine-dining Banc restaurant empire to branch out into burgers.

All three have owned hatted restaurants, but the lure of the bun has gripped them all. If more evidence of Sydney’s dizzy conversion to total Burgerness is needed, there is the Fatties Burger Appreciation Society page on Facebook.

What started as a bit of banter between friends, last week chalked up more than 13,000 members. Chris Burrell, part of its administration team, says they were surprised by the level of interest in the rise of the Sydney burger.

FBAS has branched out to events, has a stringent “pickle rating” system for burgers and is exploring an app to help punters locate our best burgers.

And while he agrees there is a bit of a fad bubble around the burger, Burrell remains confident of its future. “It’s a classic, a staple,” he argues.

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Sickening crash mars final stage of Tour of Utah

An Irish cyclist was taken to hospital after colliding with a support car on a sharp bend in the Tour of Utah race.
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Matt Brammeier suffered injuries to his lungs, pelvis and ribs as he came around a hairpin known as Guardsman’s Pass with a sickening thud into the door of the car.

As spectators and officials attempted to clear the area so the 30-year-old Irish rider could receive treatment, a further two riders collided with the motor bike of a race official and also crashed to the ground – although not with the velocity that Brammeier did.  Cyclist Matt Brammeier smashes into car after taking corner too fast in US… http://t.co/qBfqpVvXSJ#InfoNdoroTweetpic.twitter南京夜网/VAo8kC41vJ— IG: NdoroTweetID™ (@NdoroTweet) August 10, 2015

Australian Lachlan Norris went on to win the stage, the seventh and final of the tour. American rider Joe Dombrowski, 24, was the overall champion.  All good in the hood guys. Thanks for the messages. pic.twitter南京夜网/SGB8NEssCF— Matt Brammeier (@Mattbrammeier85) August 9, 2015

This wasn’t Brammeier’s first horrible accident involving motor vehicles – in 2007 he broke both his legs when he was involved in a crash with a cement truck.

The Irishman remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital after this latest accident.

Matt Brammeier seriously injured in collision with car during Tour of Utah | http://t.co/VM2qV90opCpic.twitter南京夜网/pLgGLHQkrE— Cycling Weekly (@cyclingweekly) August 9, 2015

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Breathing life into Brisbane’s underground rail

Could driverless light rail be a key to Brisbane’s future transport system? Photo: Glenn Hunt Brisbane’s busways could be converted to use with a light rail system. Photo: Glenn Hunt
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Tunnels such as the Clem 7 have transformed Brisbane’s road network. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Airport link tunnel. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Brisbane’s future underground rail project under George Street must mesh with a stand-alone “driverless mini-metro” system in the city’s CBD to give the project “more bang for its buck”, an experienced tunnelling expert said.

It must also plan for more than one rail track in each direction.

Scott Keniston from the Australian Tunnelling Society will deliver a speech outlining these issues at the University of Queensland on Thursday to re-open public debate about the future of Brisbane’s underground rail.

Mr Keniston founded Bamser, a tunnelling advice service for Brisbane until it was bought out by a national management buyout and now operates from Perth to Sydney.

Mr Keniston, now managing director Skarpa PL,  has advised the New South Wales’ government on its North West Rail metro system – Australia’s first driverless metro system – and has advised the past two Queensland Governments on the Cross River Rail and Legacy Way tunnels.

“One of the key things that the new government needs to take into consideration is that the George Street corridor is a one-time deal,” Mr Keniston said.

“The alignment works really well, but are two tracks though that corridor really enough given that there is only one Roma Street?” he asked.

Mr Keniston said Brisbane has had cross-river link suggestions for 90 years well before Labor’s Cross River Rail and the LNP’s Bus and Train Tunnel in the past decade.

“We have actually had 90 years of proposals – and some of them very credible – which haven’t been built,” Mr Keniston said.

“And the reason for that is funding,” he said.

“And if you are going to compete for funding you need to have the ‘best bang for buck’ and get more for less.”

Mr Keniston will on Thursday recommend a three-pronged approach to give the new Cross River Rail “more bang for the buck.”

1 – Using a ‘driverless metro system’ around the inner-city; similar to Bucharest.

2 – Including extra underground train lines under George Street, but not adding the trackwork until needed.

3 – Planning for a time 15 to 20 years ahead, when Brisbane’s busways are all light rail.

Mr Keniston said all of Brisbane’s busways were built to be switched to light rail.

He said the idea of an ‘inner-city metro’ – separate but meshed to the new version Cross River Rail – had first been considered by Campbell Newman as Brisbane’s lord mayor in 2011.

“I had spoken to him two days beforehand and given him a presentation on how cost-effective a metro system might be,” Mr Keniston said.

Mr Keniston said the scheme was shouted down in the media before figures could be checked to see if they could be achieved.

“And then shortly thereafter he went off and declared that he would run for premier and the idea never went any further.”

Mr Keniston – who has a background in undergound mine engineering – said the incremental cost in providing the extra space under George Street would not be significant in the overall cost.

“It is not necessary to fit them out with tracks, but to create the (underground) space and have one eye on the future is appropriate,” he said.

He will on Thursday suggest the tunnels under George Street be dug by “road headers” and not tunnel boring machines, because TBM’s provide only a circular tunnel – not flexible enough – and “road headers” could save one year in construction time and costs.

However Mr Keniston said his strongest argument was that Brisbane needed to plan for 15 to 20 years in the future when most of Brisbane’s busways have been converted to light rail and “driverless metro” system ran through the inner-city.

Features of a metro system

– Driverless tram-like carriages running in a circuit;

– Stations are 800 metres to a kilometre apart;

– no timetables, just high frequency service around the inner-city;

– More standing rather than sitting passenger areas.

Mr Keniston said “metro” was inevitable in inner-city Brisbane.

“Almost certainly Brisbane will get metro,” he said.

“There are already comparable cities around the world with comparable population densities have managed to fund and operate driverless metro,” he said.

He named Bucharest in Romania – with its six metro lines – as a similar case to Brisbane.

Bucharest has a large urban area and a population of about 2.2 million residents, while Brisbane – which includes Australia’s largest local authority – has around 2.3 million residents.

“Driveless metro is very much the norm now and is being rolled out in very similar environments around the world,” he said.

“For Brisbane it’s a case of when, not if, is probably the summary.”

Funding issues

Mr Keniston said capturing value uplift – the rising value of properties close to good infrastructure – was the model to explore.

“There are a number of stakeholders which already benefit from the alignment being chosen,” he said.

“And they get that by default.

“The government benefits most by controlling most of the land around the future George Street station .

“But others will be taken on the journey and currently will garner that uplift in value for free.

“But I imagine that the opportunities to build on or around the stations would be something that the state  would be interested in valuing potentially for a transaction.”

Scott Keniston speaks on Thursday at University of Queensland’s Advanced Engineering Building; Room: 49-301 from 5.30pm for 6pm.

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Avalon surf club rides a new wave of dining options

Location, location, location: Avalon on the Beach’s kiosk. Photo: SuppliedSydney restaurateurs continue to achieve what most house hunters can’t, elbowing their way into affordable real estate in prized locations.
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Across the city, bowling clubs, boat sheds and former toilet blocks are being transformed into food and drink venues. The latest to go is the surf club at Avalon Beach, which in recent weeks added food alongside its lifesaver facilities.

Newly opened The Avalon on the Beach includes a first-floor casual restaurant and beach-level kiosk under head chef Athos Galassi.

Operator Trippas White, which recently transformed a storage shed at Queens Park into a cafe, argues it’s a win-win.

It creates a revenue stream to cover local services, and Sydneysiders can eat and drink in great locations.

Avalon on the Beach’s kiosk menu covers well-trodden burger and jaffle turf, along with mini prawn sliders, while the restaurant is a little more adventurous, with tuna sushi, wagyu bresaola and a blue eye dish served with clams, shimeji mushrooms and fennel.

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Noosa lures Sydney chef Andy Davies and that signature dish

The chef who created one of Sydney’s most-loved signature dishes is defecting to Queensland, driven out by our soaring property prices.
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Andy Davies dreamt up his tuna and angel-hair pasta at Bondi’s Sports Bar in 1994 and has been cooking it ever since.

Now he’ll take the dish, which has survived fads and fast-moving Sydney culinary fashion, to Noosa.

Davies confirmed he’ll depart the Bondi Tratt, where he has been cooking the dish for the past 10 years, in October. The chef explains Sydney’s cost of living is one of the main reasons behind the move, and he plans to eventually open a restaurant in the Queensland resort town.

Like most signature dishes, Davies’ creation has caused controversy over the years. A few years ago a social media campaign flared up when then Hugos Manly chef Massimo Mele, who had worked with Davies, put a tweaked version of the dish on the menu.

Fans and colleagues of Davies became increasingly frustrated by references on TV and in print to it being Mele’s dish. Davies is resigned to his famed creation staying after he’s left town.

“It’ll certainly remain on the menu at the Tratt,” he says.

Is he sick of cooking it after all these years? “You can’t get sick of something that gives so much joy.”

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Alexandria restaurant Vicinity closes after three years

Cooh in North Curl Curl will take over the site occupied by Vicinity. Photo: Fiona Morris Vicinity Dining in Alexandria. Photo: Michele Mossop
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Vicinity Dining shut its doors on the weekend, a rare food venue closure in booming Alexandria. The sprawling three-year-old restaurant-bar, which boasted an interior with a pricetag a shade under $2 million, was seemingly well-positioned next to crowded local, The Grounds.

Vicinity owner Rob Rubis​ confirmed Vicinity’s passing, which followed a number of chef changes and several tweaks of its menu.

“It recently went back to basics. It didn’t work as well as we’d hoped, in an area like Alexandria you need an edge, you need to do something different,” he says.

That point of difference will arrive from the team at Cooh Cafe & Roaster in North Curl Curl. Rubis confirmed the Cooh team will step in as the new operator of the Vicinity site and reopen early September, with a new name, after a few tweaks to the interior.

If it follows the pitch of the northern beaches venue, expect a focus on organics, with plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian options. The name Cooh comes from carboxylic acid, or CO2H, an organic acid.

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