TV star backs fencing off Bondi for rich
The European-inspired beach club being flagged for Bondi Beach already has the backing of celebrities people think it's intended for.
Dr Chris Brown says he's excited about the concept, which would see a 30m by 40m area created on a section of the famous beach for $80 exclusive access.
The man behind the Amalfi Beach Club idea, Janek Gazecki, has defended the plans after widespread criticism erupted yesterday, saying the $80 comes off food and drinks so the destination was not "just for the rich".
Mr Gazecki was slammed on 2GB yesterday morning, with host Ben Fordham claiming the club was "just not something we do in Australia" and his plans for the club were widely criticised online as being a venue for the rich only - that would see locals without money effectively pushed off the sand.
Dr Brown, best known for the television series Bondi Vet and who appears on The Living Room, said it was an exciting time to be in Bondi with the Amalfi circling.
"I reckon it's a pretty appealing scene for a beach with 30,000 people to be in a section where it's one per 30sq m," he told Fitzy and Wippa this morning.
"I think it's going to go down very well. It's actually modelled off the one in the Amalfi Coast, the Bondi club, the sister club, just a bunch of Instagram models laying around."
Dr Brown even joked that was why there were so many shirtless photos of him online.
"I was playing a very long game in the hope of attracting the attention of the Amalfi Beach Club, if you're listening - membership, membership," he said.
Mr Gazecki told the radio hosts Bondi Beach needed an economy boost.
"The shops are closing, because we rely on international tourism," he said.
"This is really an initiative to help local businesses, the local restaurants will host the club."
He said the club would be positioned right up against the promenade so it was well out of the way of the water and wouldn't block access.
Mr Gazecki said the club wasn't designed for hot days when the beach was packed with thousands of people.
"I think the most we've ever had here pre-Covid is 40,000, but the important thing is that those hot days are few and far between that coincide with public holidays," he told Fitzy and Wippa.
"Now the rest of the year and the rest of the week is a different story.
"That's what this is about, it's not trying to bring more people during the hottest days, it's for the Thursdays, and Fridays, Saturdays in the afternoons to bring in a bit of extra foot traffic. "We are very prepared to bring the club in on those days, so if there is the risk of a 35C day where things might be overcrowded we are very happy to close the club on that day. It's not about those days at all."
Wippa joked he wanted to hit the club with a bunch of ladies.
"I've been working at the gym so I'm really pumped up, I did a couple of push-ups in the morning and I'm there and I'm spending the money, will I be able to get a bit of a seafood linguine, a couple Aperol Spritz and some Octopus? Because I'm in mate, I'm in," he said.
Yesterday Mr Gazecki said the club would have a different local restaurant host guests for each month, allowing them to attract more business while remaining compliant with the COVID restrictions, and help to liven up what he suggested was a dying suburb.
The events manager, who also runs Polo in the City, said Mr Fordham's remarks were not in the interest of the local economy.
"Does he want all the restaurants to shut down? Does he want them to? People have to spend money to eat at a restaurant. This is no different," he said.
"At every level we welcome feedback from the community, we appreciate constructive feedback, and we care what the locals think.
"But when you have people posting rubbish on Facebook and talking rubbish on the radio, that is a bit frustrating."
One local commented on an Amalfi Beach Club post this morning, "You've got to be kidding! I've spent plenty of time in Italy at these exact establishments," he said.
"Two words - soul destroying! Going to beaches with beach clubs on the sand makes us Aussies love and appreciate what we have back home. DO NOT bring this crap here."
Originally published as TV star backs fencing off Bondi for rich