The “Duke” April 2021 Edition

The “Duke” April 2021 Edition


A Freshwater IGA Supermarket has been a long time coming


There are positive signs that the entrepreneurial Karellas Bros will open their IGA before the end of June 2021).

A Project Manager has been appointed and tradesmen are working on the site. This outcome will be much appreciated by the long suffering Freshwater community who have been travelling more widely for their essentials. Recently the last set of refrigeration equipment was delivered to the site awaiting electrical installation. See photos below.

The Friends of Freshwater is keeping a keen eye on job advertisements to monitor any supermarket recruitment action and arrival of inventories.


It has been nearly 8 years since the Harbord Growers ceased to exit at its Freshwater site.  A group of Balmoral investors under the name of Freshwater Village Developments Pty Ltd bought the site to create a large scale consolidated development on the northern side of the Village.  This anomalous development with its large list of planning non compliances was defeated by a Freshwater community galvanised by the Friends of Freshwater in the Land and Environment Court.  Its scaled down replacement, the “Freshwater” apartment complex and its street level retail shops, was compliant with planning legislation but has been plagued by construction problems and the financial viability of some of its stakeholders.

Litigation over aspects of the site has seriously delayed the opening of the major retail space. A recent 2018 Court case involving Bellerive Homes and FX Projects over a disputed $1.1m debt highlights the extent of the delay.  Anyone who wants to follow this court case in more detail should google this case.  Some of the original Balmoral investors are still involved in FX Projects, the current owner of the “Freshwater” retail properties.

Freshwater Village Awakens


Finally! It is starting to happen.  After a long period of Village retail quietness, there are some great signs of renewed activity. A new Restaurant is being fitted out in the old Bank Building and will serve similar fare to the well-regarded Alma at Avalon, with the same owners. Likewise, an organic Café,” Veda”, with an enthusiastic young proprietor, Chris Hayward, is already doing well, and other businesses including a Barre/Yoga space have already started. Crackpot Studios have created a stylish gallery room to showcase the work of northern beaches ceramicists. They will be conducting workshops for adults as well as exhibitions. Michelle Howlett from Cruise Espresso has recently opened up her elegant Massage space in the arcade and called it Hidden Dragon. It is very well appointed. Additionally, a new pizzeria called “Pizza AH” will be opening in the former Kokos site in Freshwater Village Plaza.


The Freshwater Community Bank Branch in Freshwater Village has initiated a fantastic opportunity for local small businesses to showcase their wares.  Since moving to the new location in the “Oceans Development” on Lawrence St. in January, the Bank has redefined community involvement with a Community Hub Concept that while providing full banking services as always, is also providing window space on a two- week rotational basis for local businesses to set up, show and sell their products.


This unique concept has proved to be a rocking success with such vendors as “Made in Freshwater”, “Paper Couture” and “Sticky Pot” displaying and selling their wares.

Artist Georgie Ashby with local Member James Griffin MP – “made in freshwater” in Freshwater Financial Service Bendigo Bank

Local artist, Sandra Garritano has also been recently displaying her art in the Bank. She has regularly been a finalist in the major art prizes including Mosman, Hunters Hill and the Northern Beaches and she has found a receptive audience at the Bank.


Who knew we had such talented people in our local community? Vendors are local residents of the Freshwater Community with creativity and passion. The Bank provides the space at no charge and the vendors are able to show, sell and promote their goods thus bringing vibrancy and additional foot traffic through the Village and is a great benefit in revitalising the activity in the hub of Freshwater. 


Additionally, on one Monday and Friday of each month respectively, James Griffin, MP, Member for Manly and Councillor Michael Regan, Mayor of Northern Beaches Council set up office for the day in the Branch. We are so fortunate to have them so supportive of our Community. A similar offer is being made to our Federal Member, Zali Steggall.


Recent news that the Emerald Class Ferries are suffering from premature corrosion only highlights the value and extended hull life of the double ended Freshwaters.

Here are 10 reasons why they should be saved.


At a recent Parliamentary debate on 25 March, the following arguments were put for their retention.


  1. Tourist Dollars.  

Sydney’s tourism brings in $19.5M and a ferry trip to Manly is listed as one of the 5 things to do in Sydney. Big ferries are Manly’s lifeblood and tourism raises $500m in revenue for the Northern Beaches.


  1. There are 45,000 passenger trips over an average non-Covid summer. On a summer Sunday there are always long queues. If we use Emerald class for Sundays that is 112 trips on these smaller ferries. Imagine the condition in Sydney cove.
  2. Heritage:  These large double ended ferries have been running to Manly since 1850. They are a significant part of the heritage of the whole of Sydney, a world famous icon and too important to lose.
  3. Rough Seas: When the swell is up, the Freshwaters and their predecessors cope but it is unclear whether the Emeralds will do likewise. Buses will be a more regular back-up
  4. The planned weekend usage of two Freshwaters will have a negative impact on their diesel engines which are designed to be used more regularly.
  5. The new Emeralds were made in China and owned by private company, Transdev. The Freshwaters were made in Newcastle by highly skilled tradesmen.
  6. All of the Freshwaters, like their predecessors, have an extended hull life and are built to last for a lengthy period. They are not at the end of their life.
  7. The Freshwaters are set up for disabled access and for people of all abilities. The Emerald class are not.
  8. There are periods when the seas are calm and the passenger demand is high, that it would be appropriate to run both classes of ferry.
  9. Sydney deserves a less-polluting fleet without diesel engines. The Freshwater are suitable to be converted to other cleaner fuels or be retro-fitted with electric engines, using clean energy, like those currently running between Denmark and Sweden.


This issue has a long distance to run and any politician who disregards the 23,000 people who signed the petition will suffer electorally.




We now have a membership of 625 who are receiving this edition of the Duke. Thank you to those who have joined recently We also have a Facebook following of 2000+ who receive regular news items. If you feel that you would like to join this unique community organisation, then google our website at for more details.



The weekly meetings of the Friends of Freshwater Executive have resumed as face to face meetings. Since lockdown, we have been meeting on Zoom for months and now we are meeting again at local cafés on a regular basis.  Recently we have met at the well-patronised Three Seagulls on Harbord Road, the Harbord Hotel, and Shaka at the beach.  OUR EXECUTIVE will continue to move around the venues



As previously reported in the December Duke edition and again in February, Council has received State Government funding to construct a shared pedestrian/cycle pathway that will complete a pathway linking Manly town centre to Freshwater Village. It is now well advanced with construction of the Design Plan (see attached) and the route it takes. This route was initially intended to proceed from Somerville Bridge in Queenscliff via the shared footpath along Queenscliff, Darling, Cavil and Crown Rds., and then down Dowling St. to Freshwater Village.


This Plan generated considerable pushback from residents along those Streets and Council is now proposing to take the Pathway up an existing pathway alongside Freshie Community Garden in Crown Reserve.  This pathway has long been used as an alternative route for those with prams, cycles, or simply for step-free pedestrian access.  Council is proposing to make some modifications to the pathway to improve its safety. 


Members of the Freshie Community Garden, a project of the Friends of Freshwater, have met with Council on three occasions to voice their concerns and will again be seeking to minimise the impact of the pathway on the orchard trees that are immediately adjacent to the proposed widened Path. The gardeners commissioned an arboreal report to assess the possible damage to their orchard trees from the expanded pathway.  

It is now clear that common sense has prevailed and Council is narrowing the Pathway near the orchard trees to ensure their vitality.



With the recent conclusion of Job Keeper and modifications to Job Seeker, any local with increased cause to interact with Centrelink at Brookvale will waste a fair bit of time in queuing.

This is the only Centrelink agency on the northern beaches and is very client unfriendly. It is located 400 metres from a B1 bus stop, has no parking, is co-located with Medicare and is in a clearway

Queues often snake out of the building and the elderly (a major clientele) are forced to stand for long periods. The contrast with the state-based Service NSW, with two outlets on the northern beaches, is stark.  It is highly efficient whereas Centrelink is the opposite. 


an example of Community Art on Bondi to Bronte walk similar to what is coming to Freshwater

The Friends of Freshwater is committed to seeking opportunities to increase the range of public art at various sites in our community. We are fortunate to have a range of professional artists living among us such as Warren Langley, Julia Davis and Sally Portnoy to name but a few.  Suitable sites for meaningful public art include our Village, our Reserves, our coastal pathways and our Headlands. Council has proposed a Cultural Collections Management and Gifts Policy to fund more public art, and we aim to advocate for a Freshwater share of this Fund.



Preparations are well underway for the annual Anzac Day Ceremony in Freshwater on Sunday 25 April next. It will be held at the northern forecourt of the Harbord Diggers Club at 8am, with a March along Lumsdaine Drive from McKillop Park. The Executive of the Harbord Diggers RSL Sub Branch has been working assiduously to ensure the success of this event. Due to Covid restrictions this is a registered event.  

If anyone wishes to visit the Anzac Precinct (the Soldiers Avenue of Honour and Jacka Park) a lot of work has been done to spruce up these memorials in time for Anzac Day.


Supporting electric vehicle technology

The draft Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan has been developed to guide the future management of publicly operated electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Northern Beaches.