The DUKE – September 2023

DA’s around town

St Alma, in Lawrence St, have submitted an update on their DA for the outdoor area to their restaurant.  They have put additional effort into ensuring the noise concerns expressed by their residential near neighbours are taken into consideration.

Like Stowaway across the road, they have requested limited outdoor trading hours – to 8pm on weekdays and to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.  Additionally, they have requested to be allowed to operate the indoors restaurant until midnight the rest of their opening times. Friends of Freshwater have suggested their trading hours be aligned to Stowaway who trades until 11.30 on Friday and Saturday and 9.30 on the other days.  Although the DA is closed council will still accept and consider comments.

We also posted this change for comment on Facebook recently  and the responses are mostly supportive of the proposed changes.

What about preliminary rumours about ‘southern side of Lawrence St’

An application for the redevelopment of the south side of Lawrence St from Dowling St to the arcade is expected soon. While there are no details to share at this time, we will ensure the community is kept up to date and aware of any developments.


Bon Jour closes

Our two French retail outlets in Freshwater Village have abruptly ended their tenure in Lawrence Street.

Sacre Bleu, a patisserie, producing delicious baguettes, madeleines and other French delicacies has moved to a factory setting in Dee Why. It wanted a long lease from the owners, the Berger family, but was unable to get it. Likewise, Bon Jour, a French
café, has fallen on hard times and, according to information displayed on its window has gone into liquidation.
At the heart of their departures is the prospect of impending redevelopment of the whole site on the southern side of the Village, from Dowling Street through to the Arcade. The Berger family has apparently done major design preparatory work with the Manly-based high end architectural firm, CHROFI, in order to lodge a Development Application with Council.
This has already included Pre-DA meetings with Council Planning and Development Officers.

An obstacle to be resolved by the developer is the entry and exit for the underground parking. Currently the site has rooftop parking for 35 vehicles entering and exiting from Dowling Street.
The new development will need to have 150 + spots to comply with WLEP2011 DA parking requirements.
It is anticipated that when the DA is finally lodged, other current tenants may consider their options given the lengthy construction phase involved.

Proposed Seniors development in Brighton St, Freshwater

A Development Application (DA2023/0995) has been lodged for demolition works and construction of Senior’s Housing at 52-54 Brighton Street, Freshwater comprising 8 apartments and extensive underground parking.  Submissions officially closed on 19 August but you may still make a submission which will be considered by Council if received prior to the determination of the application.

Whilst there is a need for more Senior’s Housing the majority of submitted objections are the bulk of the development and the flooding issues associated with the development’s location which is within a defined overland natural flow path.  Council’s draft Greendale Creek Flood Study confirms the development site is burdened with an overland flow path.

Update comment on approved DA on Harbord Hotel due for construction

The DA for the first floor of the Harbord Hotel has now been approved with additional acoustic controls and limited outdoor hours.
We can expect construction to begin soon although no firm date has been announced.

Preliminary work awaits Mounties DA Upper (Eastern) Car Park to return the land to Green Space as promised

The fenced off upper (Eastern)car park which was leased to Diggers and now Mounties is due to be returned to green space for the community.  The current lease has expired, and part of the terms of the Mounties redevelopment approval included return of the carpark to community open space.  We look forward to details of their plans through a DA process.


Preliminary DA for the NEW Freshwater Surf Club


Proposed Freshwater Surf Club Museum and Restaurant (click for more details)

Freshwater Surf Club Plans ( more details in link) noting new Amenities Building

The new DA for changes to the Freshwater Surf Club and Amenities including a new restaurant facing the Freshwater Park for 160 seats  (no water views) and a cafe for 60 seats.

Details can be found online here.

Irene Crump Reserve

The newly renamed Irene Crump Reserve (previously known as Undercliffe Reserve) at the southern end of Freshwater Beach continues to flourish with the dedicated care of a team of volunteers devoted to making it a rehabilitated and sustainable asset for the community.
With spring almost here the team of 12 volunteers have been busy establishing many native plants.  The fantastic “Fairy Garden” at the top level continues to be a huge draw card for small children and parents alike and the beautiful rock carving nearby can now be fully appreciated.  A small section near Undercliff Rd has been terraced and planted with beautiful plants that thrive in shaded condition including flowering bromeliad.
You will be able easily to identify the team who are very proudly wearing their new shirts with a flannel flower motif.

New Volunteer outfit

They have continued to prepare the area by weeding  and mulching to get it ready for the summer.

Upper Irene Crump Reserve – Denver Brevan volunteer

Access to water is still a challenge for the team who are currently using the generosity of near neighbours in the short term.
We are hoping Council will provide a much-needed tap in the reserve sooner rather than later.

We are hoping it can be combined with a much-needed water bottle filling station for those many people who walk along our beautiful coastline.


Irene Crump Reserve Steep incline

The Reserve also has a small seating section that is heavily used by locals who just want to take a moment to have a coffee, bask in the sun and enjoy the calm ambiance.

The Bush Bench seat

Freshwater Beach Reserve (update)

Proposed Playground off Kooloora Rd ( Artist Impression )

The Freshwater Beach Reserve has been the focus of two masterplans and Friends of Freshwater continue to advocate for action to improve the beach reserve.  The first part of the plan that which council plans to commence this year will include a viewing platform (with accessible ramp) at the northern end of the beach and a path linking Ocean View Rd through to the Surf Club.
Both are sorely needed as the park at the north end has little view of the beach and pedestrians are forced to walk through the busy main carpark which is a safety concern. Also planned this year is a refresh of the smaller children’s play area near Pilu Baretto and the addition of more seating.

However, the current plan for access from near the beach shower at the end of Moore Rd down to the Surf Club concerns us.

Early visualisation of proposed Switchback change

The path is currently steeper than the regulations for an accessible path (1:14) and the plan involves the insertion of two flights of steps which will likely cause more missteps and falls.  The proposed switch back path with accessible gradient is through the nature area which has been nurtured over the last 8 years which now has many established trees.

Current Pathway shown to be modified in new Masterplan

It would be cheaper, make more sense and cause less disruption if the current path were upgraded.

We believe this can easily be achieved.


Freshwater Park has diseased Palm trees

You may have noticed that at least 10 palm trees have died in the beach reserve.  Apart from now being unsightly and a possible fall risk they further reduce the shade in the park.
The Council has responded to Friends of Freshwater enquiry as follows:

Dead or diseased Palms in Freshwater Beach Park

‘Pathology tests have confirmed that a fungus Thielaviopsis paradoxa – Palm Trunk / Bud Rot was present in the tissues of the dead palms at Freshwater. Unfortunately, there are no known fungicides registered for this specific fungus. The dead palms will be removed in early spring in conjunction with soil treatments and fertiliser to improve and protect the health of the remaining palms. Replacement of the palms with suitable trees is being investigated in conjunction with the Freshwater Beach Master Plan and will involve consultation with local residents and stakeholder groups.’

We have requested they replace the palms with a bank of trees and have concerns that this is unlikely to be achieved in the foreseeable future.


Freshwater Beach sand dune devastation

Proposed area for regeneration of Dunes

Friends of Freshwater has also approached the council about the degradation of the dunes at the northern end of the beach and the nocturnal activities in the area.  We were delighted to receive an email from Northern Beaches Council regarding the dune area.  They are approaching the NSW state government for a grant to stabilise and replant the dune area between Ocean View Rd and Kooloora Rd.
We have provided a letter of support for their proposal.



Wuruna (Artwork at cliff edge)

Wuruna site and visualisation

The new artwork in the McKillop Park was originally planned for completion in November 2022.

Current desolate Wuruna site – Aug 31 23

We have been eagerly awaiting progress on the installation.  Currently the sandstone viewing area has been dismantled, the area fenced off and footings dug.  The latest timing from council is that construction will begin in September 2023 with footings completed in August.
Although no completion date was given we are hopeful that it will be completed this year.


Uptown Grant

Up Town Grants for Freshwater Village business support

You may have heard that Harbord Hotel received a grant of $200,000 from the NSW government earlier this year.

Most in the community including FoF were surprised to hear of it and this led to a range of rumours circulating in the community. We met with Jessica Fitzgerald from Harbord Hotel to gain a better understanding of the parameters of the grant and an update on progress to date.  Thank you Jessica for the update below:

‘We are thrilled to report that on Monday 31st July we held our first Uptown Grant kick-off meeting hosted at Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club. This was the very first meeting to discuss the details of our Uptown Community Grant that Freshwater has been incredibly lucky to receive.

The businesses involved in spearheading the grant are:

Pilu, Keel Surf & Supply, St Alma, Stowaway, Harbord Hotel, Skywood Climbing and Mesa Body.

All businesses in Freshwater are invited to partake and table their ideas to the committee made up of the businesses involved in this initiative. Jessica Fitzgerald from Harbord Hotel (also a member of the Freshwater Business Chamber Sub-Committee) is the lead applicant together with Sara Lloyd from PR Agency Example.
The committee will meet regularly to vote and discuss the grant objectives and progress.

During the kick-off meeting local businesses were able to communicate what they love about Freshie, struggle with during winter and summer and commented on the special attributes and soul of Freshwater that makes this community so unique and unlike anywhere else in Sydney. The Uptown Grant will be busy working on a survey that will then inform the next steps of creating a comprehensive marketing, PR and branding strategy for our local area. Stay tuned for more details!’

We are looking forward to continuing updates on the plans.

Duke/Freshwater Surfers Walk of Fame Project with Hawaiian Airlines

With Freshwater’s long history of friendship with the people of Hawaii, we were heartbroken to hear of the pain and suffering caused by the wildfire tragedy that took hold of West Maui.

Surfers Walk of Fame – Mosaic

Whilst it was disappointing to have to cancel our Duke / Surfers Walk Project with Hawaiian Airlines on the 18th August the people of Hawaii remain in our thoughts as they continue to navigate through the devistation and turmoil of this catastrophe.

We plan to revive this event with Hawaiian Airlines in 2024, keeping it anchored to the Duke’s birthday month with a cleanup/care project and cultural ceremony at the statue.

In the meantime we will continue to give some TLC to our Surfers Walk in the Heritage listed Duke Kahanamoku Park and invite  feedback and contact from those interested in caring for the site, contributing funds and/or information on adding to our list of  Champion Surfers and those Australians who have championed the Surfing Industry.



Friday morning dips

Freshie Sunrise swims

A hardy group of sunrise swimmers has started in Freshwater meeting near Pilu at 7am.  After their swim they enjoy a coffee to warm up.   Participant numbers are growing as spring approaches.

Meet at Freshie beach at 7:30am for a chilly winter dip, followed by a nice warm coffee ☀️

Find them on Instagram ‘freshiesunriseswims’