Bathing Boxes on the Point Lonsdale foreshore

Bathing boxes for Queenscliff beach – what’s old is new again!

A foreshore plan by Borough of Queenscliffe Council to increase the level of activity on Queenscliff’s front beach could include beach boxes, extending Princes Park towards the beach, and promoting the use of seaweed on local gardens.

Coordinator Gary Purton said the plan would include trialling the introduction of beach boxes, their construction and management. Brighton’s beach boxes have been a feature for over a century and one sold recently for a record $337,000.

A couple of years ago local businessman, Alistair Gordon (a member of the Chamber of Commerce headed up by Tony Francis, now Councillor Francis and owner of Harry’s kiosk in the park) put forward an almost identical proposal that was shut down with ‘concerns for native vegetation’.

“My proposal was that Council survey and sell fifty 50-year leases for bathing boxes at $50,000 for a revenue of $2.5m to be used to advertise and promote the Borough as a shopping/holiday venue to help non-food retailers whose role was being relegated to that of ‘free entertainment’ for visitors before they have a coffee, ice-cream or lunch and go home,” said Mr Gordon. “At the time, 38 businesses, the majority of which were non-food retailers, had closed or changed hands in the previous 42 months.

The logic of my proposal was that those who bought the leases for the sites could build their own bathing box under strict design guidelines which would result in them visiting more and staying longer. Additional benefits would come from people visiting to see and photograph the colourful bathing boxes, as they do in Brighton.

I’m glad to hear that, with the passage of time, my original proposal is being considered. Since it has no costs for residents or ratepayers and is revenue-positive, I can see no reason it should not go ahead, vegetation notwithstanding. It remains to be seen, of course, whether this will happen and, if so, when.”