A message from the Mayor about summer in Waverley
17 September 2020
To help keep the community safe when visiting our public places during the warmer months, I this week moved the following Mayoral Minute which was carried.
The Mayoral Minute notes that:
a) COVID 19 Beach Management plans for this spring and summer have been developed and will be published in the near future
b) The plan includes significant communication on beach capacity, and infrastructure, increased staffing and an escalation protocols to manage and restrict numbers and access, should numbers at our beaches and public open spaces be too great. The closure of our beaches, open spaces and coastal walk is a last resort and safe access to the water will be maintained.
c) The plan also involves working with closely with other agencies including NSW Police, NSW Health, Transport for NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW, other councils and LGNSW to take a whole of system approach to managing beach numbers, including promoting social distancing and public health order compliance and trying to prevent too larger numbers of people attending the beach
d) The on-beach components of this planning work forms the basis of current operations with additional rangers and lifeguards continuing to monitor numbers and ensure the current PHOs are being implemented.
e)In developing the plans, extensive consultation and collaboration have been undertaken with NSW Police, NSW Health, Transport for NSW, and between beachside Councils in Sydney.
f) The PHOs no longer specify maximum numbers in public open spaces, and instead specify that people can gather in groups of up to 20, the 1 person per 4 square meter applies. It is further noted that social distancing of 1.5 meters is health advice only and is not a PHO requirement but is being encouraged in our beach management approach.
g) LGNSW has convened a meeting of beach side Mayors, the Police and Surf Life Saving NSW that have agreed that LGNSW write to the premier on our behalf seeking funding for additional staff to act as COVID Ambassadors/Marshalls and development and funding for an education and advertising campaign addressing beach crowding and behaviour.
h) This year's spring and summer temperatures are expected to be above average.
2) Enter discussions with the Bondi and District Chamber of Commerce with a view to establishing a voluntary register of businesses and venues that have COVID safe plans as a means to encourage and facilitate the adoption of best practice COVID Safe plans by businesses and venues, and that potential customers can refer to.
3) Develops a COVID counter on Councils home page that shows the number of COVID cases in Waverley at a specified date and refers people to the NSW Health website for further information.
4) Write to the Minister for Health and Medical Research, the Minister for Planning and Open Spaces, and the Minister for Transport seeking a meeting with a delegation of mayors from Waverley, Woollhara, Randwick and Bayside Councils, to discuss the PHOs, our COVID 19 Plans, specific challenges, given the ease of access to our iconic city beaches that will need to be met this coming summer and initiatives for how these may be met.
5) Immediately steps up our own community education efforts aimed at encouraging people to help stop the spread, including wearing masks and continuing to use of hand sanitizer, as well as a broad social media campaign, given the number of actives cases of COVID 19 have been slowly increasing in the Waverley LGA.
6) Acknowledges the difficult job our rangers, lifeguards, ambassadors and other staff have in trying to keep our residents, community and visitors safe and appreciates their professionalism and dedication in the execution of their duties in this COVID pandemic environment.
7) Investigate a possible solution to overcrowding on the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk to see if a one-way system could be safer for example one-way south on the actual walkway and a safe northern passage along our streets.
The last weekend of winter was a really great test run for summer. Our beaches and parks are busy places, and overall visitors had a safe and enjoyable time and Public Health Orders were observed.
Our beach ambassadors and Rangers received some really positive feedback about the work Council is doing and we’re continuing to work with the NSW Health and the police and other stakeholders on our beach management plan for the summer months.
We want everyone to be able to enjoy our beaches and open spaces safely. Bondi is a popular place and with no Public Health Orders restricting travel in NSW, our Council is focusing on how we can help keep people safe when they are in our area and how can we continue to keep our lifeguards safe and limit the amount of rescues, etc.
This is not going to be a normal summer and that is why we are continuing to ask people to limit public gatherings to 20 people as per the current Public Health Orders and to maintain social distancing in our public places at all times.
I also want to acknowledge how wonderful the Waverley community has been throughout this pandemic. Our residents want only the best for the community and are doing their best to help keep themselves and each other safe.
If our beaches or parks look busy, please come back another time or use that time to visit our local businesses who need your support. Please help us by staying safe when visiting our public places.
Mayor of Waverley