A Boujie Sydney Suburb Could Lose Reserved Parking So The General Public Can Access The Beach

Residents in a very exxy and very exclusive Sydney suburb could lose their private parking spaces so that us regular people can access the beach.

Camp Cove Beach has been swamped with an influx of eager beach-goers thanks to the ongoing closure of Shark Beach at Nielsen Park. This increase in visitors has triggered a number of complaints from residents about the competitive nature of parking, especially in summer.

But in a small win for us regular folk (read: people who can’t afford to live in Watson’s Bay), Woollahra Council wants to reduce the number of parking spaces that are reserved for Watsons Bay residents to make it easier for visitors to head to the beach.

The recent surge in visitors to Camp Cove Beach in particular is due to swimmers not being allowed to head to Shark Beach at Nielsen Park thanks to the NSW government’s delayed reconstruction of the seawall.

The popular swimming spot in Vaucluse will be closed for another entire summer, with construction not due for completion until April 2024 so it’s looking like Camp Cove is where it’s at this year.

As per The Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesman for the Department of Planning and Environment said he “sympathises” with residents around the “loss of amenity” as we head into the summer months.

“The site will re-open for swimming as soon as it is safe to allow visitors to access the beach,” he said.

The spokesman also said that there were other harbour swimming sites near Shark Beach that beach-goers could access instead, including the netted Redleaf Pool in Double Bay and the Watsons Bay Baths.

There’s going to be even more headaches for Sydney-siders wanting to head to the beaches in early 2024 as construction is set to begin on a new pumping station at Parsley Bay, which is designed to end the pumping of raw sewage into the ocean.

A Sydney Water spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald that access to Parsley Bay beach would not be affected during the three-year construction period, but a council spokesman said that the construction works may further impact other swimming locations in the eastern suburbs.

“Council will be investigating opportunities for new harbour swimming sites over the next 12 months,” he told the publication.

Last week, the council’s traffic committee suggested replacing residents-only parking spaces on a number of streets in Watsons Bay with timed parking restrictions to encourage parking turnover for visitors.

The committee also rejected residents wanting to retain parking spaces for their use only stating they had a requirement to provide parking options to other members of the community, not just the residents.

Residents have also complained that the council doesn’t enforce existing parking restrictions in the area, but the traffic committee said more than 900 (!!) fines had been issued in just six weeks last summer.

Woollahra councillor Harriet Price said that the competition for parking in Watsons Bay was a “real challenge”.

“Some parking arrangements in Watsons Bay are most unique, effectively providing exclusive parking for residents only,” she said.

Price also said that the council was in talks with local private schools to try to get them to open their pools up to the public during the summer months to add some reprieve from the Sydney heat.

“I hope they can come on board to benefit the broader community,” she said.

Let’s hope for a best of both worlds situation here this summer — I’m manifesting somewhere to swim and somewhere to park.