Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Alternative headline dept

The Council press release was joyously headed 'Residents win court battle against Darlinghurst night club'.

A different spinner could have written 'The last nail in the coffin of Oxford Street'. This episode is another example of Council's doublespeak. On the one hand they want to revitalise Oxford Street as an entertainment precinct. On the other hand they appear to have closed down the T2 night- and day-club at Taylor Square because residents don't like the fallout.

A recent letters thread in the Sydney Star Observer neatly summarised the issue. One guy living in the art deco apartment block directly opposite T2 and Kinselas had written in complaining about the Saturday morning noise, complete with a photo of a police car attending an incident or complaint. 'See what I have to put up with' was the indignant message. The next week another guy replied, saying simply, 'You wanted to move close to the action, you deal with it'.

All councillors however pander exclusively to the NIMBYs on this one and killing the action is their solution. Tough luck for the late-shift workers who used to have a club to go to and tough luck for Oxford Street. The gentrifiers continue to turn Sydney into a dead boring city. But, you know, quiet evenings sitting separately in little boxes consuming mass media and going to bed after The Bill is the only right and proper cultural norm. Pip pip, tally ho!

The extent of Council's ignorance of inner city culture was highlighted by a recent pathetic attempt at 'revitalising' Taylor Square. The first draft of the oppressive busking policy banned buskers from selling their cds everywhere except the Square which is not known for its busking anyway. That idiocy was killed off but it's still illegal for an artist to sell paintings, and even silent performers must stop by midnight. Not to mention having to pay to get a license in the first place.

Their next assault on counter-cultures will be the new street poster policy. More on that later.

Pic: A late-night partygoer recovers on a Saturday morning in Taylor Square. Tut tut. I mean, you just can't HAVE this sort of thing, can you?


Anonymous said...

Hoteliers worry about guest safety
Saturday Feb 23 15:38 AEDT
Melbourne's top hotels have urged the city council to block new late-night bars because they fear for guests' safety on the streets at night, the hotels' industry body says.

Australian Hotels Association (AHA) chief executive Brian Kearney on Saturday said his premium hotel members' concerns over deteriorating security on the streets had led the AHA to go to Melbourne Council.

In a proposal put forward during the last month, AHA asked the council to stop issuing any new permits for bars to operate after 1am in the CBD.

"We represent the four- and five-star hotel properties, and they are increasingly concerned about the safety of their guests and the image of Melbourne as a safe city," Mr Kearney said.

"And in the international scene, if word should spread that Melbourne is not safe, it will impact tourism."

Street crime in Melbourne's CBD and inner suburban hot spots rose 17 per cent last year, prompting police to launch a new 50-person taskforce to crack down on street violence last October.

A strip of new late-night bars in the Queens Street area is attracting thousands of revellers in the early hours of the morning and is increasingly drawing police attention for brawls and violence.

Mr Kearney said "a line in the sand" was needed to help solve the problem of late-night violence.

"Our view is that there should be a line drawn in the sand, and the city of Melbourne should stop issuing planning permits for new nightclubs and new bars operating after 1am."

He said the moratorium should stay in place until the police and government were satisfied the problem was solved, but he had no problem with more bars trading until 1am.

He denied this would lead to more patrons spilling onto the streets with nowhere to go when those bars closed.

Such establishments would be attracting a different type of crowd and would also be making money during the day, when Melbourne streets were thriving, he said.

Mr Kearney said the Queen Street problems had been seen before, in another nightclub strip.

"All this is cyclical, in 1990 we saw King Street problems, in 1995 we saw King Street problems, and now we have Queen Street problems," he said.

"All these things can be effectively solved with cooperation."

He said a strong police presence backed up by appropriate government and council interventions would solve the problem.

The Editor said...

Does the anonymous person who posted the above really think the AHA is doing other than protecting its existing members from competition?

Is the claimed violence simply because of more venues or are there more complex reasons including the sniffer dog pogrom?

See my letter in the SMH on Saturday.

I copped a reply today but it said nothing new and also failed to counter any of my substantive points.

I'll post the thread on the blog proper.

-- Michael

Anonymous said...

The Victorian Herald Sun last week revealed that Victoria had witnessed a dramatic rise in assaults over the past five years, with Melbourne and the outer suburbs hardest hit.

In the metropolitan area, Melton was worst, registering a 160.6 per cent increase from 226 to 589 cases in 2006-07 compared with 2000-01.

Across the state, assaults climbed from 21,939 in 2000-01 to 31,020, an increase of 41.4 per cent.

The Editor said...

So a lot of idiots bash each other in Melton, way out west of Melbourne near Bacchus Marsh. Has there been a dramatic rise in late-night venues in Melton? If not, it shows the aridity of this argument and its reliance on post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (see subsequent post about this).

In reality the NIMBYs who abhor the 'ugly boring harassment' they seem to experience in Kings Cross just don't like the atmosphere and are using unrelated statistics to justify their own negative view. They always say they want a 'lively, vibrant district' but their only solution is to shut the place down. The day I see a 'lively vibrant' precinct without alcohol or drugs I'll eat my hat. The Akubra, too.