The idea of private beaches, or the privatisation of some section of public beaches, doesn’t sit well with many people. If you have enough money you don’t have to worry about getting a spot on the sand or the possibility that others will be close enough to feel you fart as you roll over, you just pay for your spot. Is that what we have here?
At many tourist precincts there is outdoor dining. You can get a table (and an umbrella or sun roof) near the bay, river or beach, or in the mall. Some are free and open to bringing your own food and drinks, many are controlled and apportioned to certain restaurants that treat them as an extension of their premises. We could react against that and ask how dare the restaurants prevent us from strolling freely down the mall any way we like and how can the Council be so venal as to charge the restaurant for the right to exclusive use of public land - our land. But many of us enjoy that kind of outdoor eating and drinking and are prepared to pay for somebody to cook and serve.
In the proposed scheme you get a table, chairs and umbrella and pay $80 against your food and drink. You can bet the prices will be high, so what you get for your money is not clear, but the same applies in the mall. Would there be such a reaction if this proposal was up on the sealed promenade instead of on the sand? Is it the pricing structure that is the worry or the sacred sands of Bondi being defaced?
We accept BYO food and drink at the beach so why is it so wrong to have pay services there too? Just like the mall you will not get a restaurant to provide the service unless they have some control over the seating area. Why is that OK in the mall but not on the beach?