Lives could be put at risk following a council decision to stop the Bombie Bar holding monthly music events on Sunday afternoons at Coalcliff Surf Club. The popular seaside venue will sit silent on New Year’s Day when the next event was planned following a directive from council saying live acts can no longer play.
Licencee and surf club captain Rob Deacon hopes common sense prevails for what musicians such as Jim Moginie, of Midnight Oil describe as one of Australia’s best live music locations.
For six years the surf club has held concerts with local and well known musicians such as Thirsty Merc performing between 1pm and 5.30pm on Sunday afternoons. All proceeds go to running the surf club and funding surf rescue equipment. The number of events was recently reduced to the first Sunday of every month following noise complaints.
Mr Deacon said the club tried to comply with all conditions after a meeting with council in September. “They suggested some changes for us to make which we did so we thought we were all good. They told us at some stage we would have to put in a development application but they didn’t give us a time frame. We asked them if we could continue doing what we were doing and they said yes”.
But just before eight drownings in NSW in the last week the club was told it would not be able to hold any more events. Six were planned between now and June and Mr Deacon said for some local musicians this would effect their livelihoods.
“There are difficulties because the surf club doesn’t actually have a lease with the council,” he said.
“The committee is trying to work out our next step and will take legal advice from Surf Life Saving. Our view is we are running fundraising events for members and guests. The council is saying no they are not an actual surf club building related event. We raised $10,000 in the last Bombie season of music. With that money we bought a new all terrain vehicle we use to tow the jet ski and the IRB up and down the beach. Those are our major rescue items. The jet ski..patrols from Coledale..to Bundeena. We have the overwhelming support of the majority of Coalcliff residents and we don’t want to impact negatively on the community.”
Council said officers met surf club representatives in September following noise complaints and advised the club did not have the necessary development approval to conduct such activities. Then in December when Council received an application for a multi-function liquor licence for an additional six musical performances it wrote back advising that without the necessary development consents, it would not be able to hold such events.
A spokesperson said the council appreciated the great service surf life saving clubs provide on Sundays and Public Holidays to patrol 17 beaches, however, state planning laws were applicable to all activities across the city. The council said it was looking forward to working with the surf club to progress any development application they may submit.
Mr Deacon said the Bombie Bar is seen by many in the community as a magical place that people love going to.
It is a family venue. We have had no problems with behaviour. It is just a really good way to spend a Sunday afternoon in one of the most beautiful spots you will find anywhere. And musicians love playing there because people actually go to watch them play music. People are just there to have a good time and listen to their music. The musicians really appreciate it and the people enjoy the experience. And we enjoy bringing that to the community.”