Brighton bathing boxes a battleground

Brighton bathing boxes a battleground

08/18/2021

In battleground Brighton, the tense stand-off between Bayside Council and the Brighton Foreshore Association over the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the Dendy Street Beach Surf Lifesaving Pavilion is heading to the Court of Appeal next week.

But there is a new source of conflict: this time the beach’s world-famous bathing boxes.

Brighton bathing boxesCredit:Eddie Jim

To help fund the redevelopment, the council sold plots to erect 10 new boxes at the southern end of the beach. Some sold in the vicinity of $300,000, providing a nice little earner for the council to put towards the $10.6 million pavilion redevelopment. At the time, Foreshore Association founder Weston Bate warned that the boxes would be washed away.

Association secretary Liz McQuire describes the situation as “another example of Bayside treating the beach as a revenue opportunity rather than providing proper custodial care”.

Now the council has been forced to install sandbags to protect the footing of five bathing boxes “due to unusual sand movement”.

“As the bathing boxes are located within the natural coastal environment, it is not uncommon for winter high tides to impact the foundations of the bathing boxes,” says Bayside director of corporate services Jill Colson.

She said the council was “investigating more permanent solutions on how to better protect the iconic bathing boxes from the ongoing effects of rising tides”. Sounds expensive.

BETTER DAYS

Props have to go to man-about-Labor Eamonn Fitzpatrick, who has latched onto a particularly relatable lockdown hobby. The top backroom operator quit Labor-leaning spinners Hawker-Britton last year and has released his first single with his new band, the Strixx.

Lockdown hobbies. Credit:John Shakespeare

The title? Better Days. Unsurprisingly, it’s a tune about lockdown – a topic Fitzpatrick knows a thing or two about given he traded Sydney’s Macquarie Street for Hong Kong last year for a role with London PR firm Consulum. For its part, Consulum won a $US6.2 million one-year contract with the Hong Kong government to counter negative foreign press coverage of the territory’s crackdowns on pro-democracy activists.

Alas, its contract with HK’s Orwellian-sounding Information Services Department ended before the Relaunch Hong Kong campaign actually launched.

But we digress. Stuck inside a Hong Kong apartment with his pregnant partner back in Australia, the lobbyist, who has “always mucked around in bands”, started trading notes with Hong Kong-based Melburnian singer Diana Dee. “We initially did it to kill time,” he told CBD. “And then we recorded it and [the songs] started to scrub up pretty good.” Beats baking bread.

NEVER SITTING STILL

It’s been almost four months since the Morrison government’s consort supreme, Neville Power, wrapped up his role captaining the COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission. Readers will recall the West Australian bigwig who is a former chief executive of Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals mining giant was tapped by Scott Morrison to lead the commission charged with steering the local economy through the pandemic. But with the economy in recovery by May – well, kind of – the commission was disbanded.

The flying executive hasn’t sat still for long. Company records reveal that in early June, he formed a new company, Green Line Holdings, with one of WA’s best known executives, rich-lister Ian Trahar, a former mining executive who is now the executive chairman of listed prawn and aquaculture outfit Seafarms Group.

Also involved with the venture is Seafarms chief financial officer Harley Whitcombe. Trahar’s private investment company Gabor Holdings is one of two shareholders. Power’s Line Hold Investments, which he owns with 36-year-old son Nicholas Power, is the other shareholder. The business is registered to Power’s private office inside an upmarket West Perth office tower that also happens to house his other corporate charge, Strike Energy, which Power is also a director of.

So what are Power and Co up to? It’s no secret that in June Trahar was shaking the tin for Seafarms and seeking to raise more than $100 million to progress his long-held dream of a landbreaking black tiger prawn farm off the coast of Kununurra in north-west WA. So did the marketing push work on Power? Well no, actually. Turns out Power hasn’t invested a cent in Seafarms. Green Line Partners is a private set-up for Power and Trahar, who have a professional history. The pair are eyeing a series of investments, but nothing concerning Seafarms, aquaculture or fish. Good to know.

BIG FISH SLUG IT OUT

It’s worth noting that aquaculture appears to be in fashion at the moment with WA’s power set. After all, Power’s former boss Twiggy Forrest this week entered a tussle for control of Tasmanian seafood and salmon giant Huon Aquaculture, challenging a $550 million takeover bid lobbed by the Brazilian meat giant JBS over environmental concerns. Forrest, who has a PhD in marine science and a day job as mega-miner Fortescue’s executive chairman, is threatening to block the JBS bid and demanding JBS commit to higher farming and environmental standards. The outcome of that bid is still ongoing.

BY GEORGE!

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews might now be our most recognised politician after hitting the global big time. He was the subject of a special segment on US Fox News mocking his “no mask shall be removed in the sipping of this cocktail” outdoor booze consumption ban.

Paleoconservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson didn’t exactly hit the target when he dissed Andrews. “The powerful are doing whatever they feel like in the name of science and public health because they can, and because nobody is stopping them,” said Carlson, in an op-ed that could have been scripted by Karen from Brighton, aka local lockdown critic Jodi Grollo.

“In Australia, where there are no restraints at all it appears, the country has declared a state of martial law and now the ‘peasants’ of Australia have to find a way to drink alcohol through their face masks.”

The martial law claim was Fox Fake News at its finest and Tucker obtusely missed the point of the mask removal ban – to get people off the streets.

Lest Andrews’ NSW counterpart, Gladys Berejiklian, was feeling left out, days earlier fellow Fox News presenter Laura Ingraham had ridiculed Sydney’s lockdown and then labelled Canberra’s lockdown after one case as “even more insane”.

But there was one local politician incredibly excited by the proceedings, federal Queensland MP George Christensen, who beamed in all the way from “lockdown Canberra” to unpatriotically label our lockdowns as “pandemic policy insanity”.

Christensen was clearly excited by the opportunity to front a US audience of like-minded peeps. So excited that he donned his best suit and collared shirt for the two-way exchange, thanking Ingraham profusely for the opportunity. Bless.

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