Seabaths Seeking Public Space For Expansion

By  |  0 Comments

Alan West

First and foremost, public land is for the benefit of the public.After living in St Kilda for over 25 years, only four weeks ago, I became aware that the roof top terrace at the Seabaths was a public space. For free use by everyone, anything from having a picnic with friends to sunbathing, reading a book, walking your dog or whatever. It has been a well kept secret for the last 15 years. There is no sign posting and somewhat of a treasure hunt to find, especially via the stairs on the northern wall.

The operators of the Seabaths have a current application before council wanting to take over half of this space away. To roof it and cordon it off for their own private use and profit. A liquor license for 300 people, 8am -1am 24/7.With no apparent benefit to the public, but certainly a massive benefit for themselves.

On Tuesday March 14, of the 50 people who objected to council, 16 concerned residents (myself included) attended the consultation meeting at Town Hall. Two councillors, 2 planning dept. officers, two Urbis reps for the applicant, and the manager of the SeaBaths sat down and talked about the proposal. The meeting was cordial, and at times intense and emotional.

After the meeting it became apparent that many residents of St Kilda were not aware that the roof top terrace was actually public space. I thought everyone should be made aware of this. So within 4 days I organised a Sunday meetup on the rooftop terrace. So locals could show council and the Seabaths operators that we now knew about the space and cared enough to demonstrate our concern over its possible loss. The word spread quickly.

On a spectacular Sunday evening, with an amazing view of the sunset from the rooftop, the meeting was well attended by a diverse array of St Kilda locals. I lost count after 70, not bad on such short notice. The diversity was a good thing to see. St Kilda being at times a conglomeration of fierce independents, it was fantastic to see such a broad range of people bonding over an important issue.

I would like to thank all those who attended the meeting. Urge everyone to go up there and exercise your public right to enjoy the space and views during the opening hours of the Seabaths. If you think it worthwhile saving public spaces such as this, and dislike the perpetual increment of commercialisation of public land down on the foreshore, join my Facebook page, Friends of St Kilda and let me and everyone else know by posting your thoughts.

The battle continues……….

Find us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on Facebook