Waverley Council to accelerate Bondi CCTV plan

A swastika that was scrawled along the Bondi Beach promenade in April.

WAVERLEY COUNCIL has taken further steps to advance a planned upgrade of security infrastructure spanning Bondi Beach’s pedestrian promenade and mural wall, following a recent wave of antisemitic vandalism incidents there, and a $143,000 funding commitment by the federal government to install CCTV cameras.

Only one CCTV camera has been installed so far, but a motion by Councillor Leon Goltsman, seconded by Councillor Sally Betts, which was carried unanimously at a council meeting on May 21, aims to accelerate the project’s delivery, and bolster its likely effectiveness by considering further measures such as installing additional lighting and signage.

As a result, Waverley Council will prepare an urgent report to identify suitable CCTV camera locations along the beachfront, and provide options on methods to deter and reduce crime, assist in the detection and prosecution of offenders, and improve public safety.

A swastika daubed at Bondi Beach in February.

Council will also investigate whether it needs to amend its current policy on CCTV surveillance infrastructure provision, to include provision of CCTV cameras for the purpose of surveillance of the public domain, rather than only for asset protection.

And council officers will arrange consultation meetings throughout June with key groups including local police, representatives from Bondi and North Bondi surf clubs, and Bondi Ward councillors, to consider and discuss key priorities for the project.

Goltsman referred to the February 10 vandalism attack featuring 20 swastikas sprayed across the mural wall, and a similar incident on April 17 spanning several murals, as “vilifying our residents for their heritage, culture and religious beliefs”.

“It’s frightening to see that its happening right at our very own doorstep,” he said.

“Councillors, I know we all stand united against these types of racist [acts], bigotry or discrimination against anyone, and would like to see that prevented from happening again.

“We now have the chance to go the extra step.

“I think it is important that we work collaboratively to deter and reduce crime, promote and enhance a safer environment, and assist in detection and prosecution of any offenders.”

Betts said that any antisemitic vandalism is disturbing and hurtful to see, but “to have swastikas sprayed in the middle of an eruv, is even worse”.

“So I think it’s really important that we do have CCTV cameras, because it gives our community some kind of comfort that we can find the people [offenders], and I know the police are very keen to see it [installed too].”

SHANE DESIATNIK