Being a Councillor can have its challenges sometimes. Section 5.21 (2) of the Local Government Act 1995 states that at a Council meeting every Councillor present must vote – there is no opting out of the difficult or controversial issues. Therefore each Councillor needs to have formed a position (hopefully an informed position) by the time of voting For or Against. The Lyric Lane proposal provides a good case in point.
This proposal is for a 3 story (plus basement) development. The basement will be predominantly for live music functions. The ground floor will be a small bar/tavern & cafe and on the first and second floors there will be three residential dwellings. The proposed development will be at 177 Guildford Rd which is between 7th and 8th Avenues.
Despite the fact that any sane Councillor should probably welcome a development in the area which would cost several millions of dollars, who wouldn’t want another small bar (classed tavern by the Liquor Police) and/or a trendy live music venue in Maylands? I certainly would, and I would likely be a regular patron.
Yet there is a problem. And that is parking.
The proposed residences on the first and second floors meet the parking requirements of 5 bays, but the City of Bayswater would normally insist that the commercial components (ground level and basement) have 57 car parking bays. Yet there are only 4. I have received numerous emails urging me, and the other Councillors, to support this proposal. Most emails include how important it is to have live music venues (agreed) and how the Council should be against drink-driving so not providing bays is irrelevant (disagree) and that the venue is close to the train line, and next to a bus stop on Guildford Rd, which means that people can use public transport (agreed). It is because of the public transport facilities that the Council has granted a 50% car bay dispensation under TP-P1.9 (Maylands Town Centre), and this therefore reduces the normal requirements of 57 bays to 29 bays. Unfortunately even with the generous reduction in parking bay requirements to 29 bays, there still exists a shortfall of 86%.
It is my understanding that the developers are hoping that the basement and ground levels are approved for a combined liquor licence number of circa 250 people. Obviously many people will attend who either don’t drink, are the delegated skipper for the evening or who don’t feel the need to drink over the limit. In addition the bar staff, security, glassies, chefs, band members, won’t be drinking. Where are they to park?
It has been suggested that Maylands town site has sufficient parking, particularly in the evenings, to absorb any parking requirement. During the day time when the café and bar will be open that is not correct; just look at the picture at the top of this article and you will see virtually all of the bays are full (the chemist has a few spots free but that is their private land). In the evenings, there are spare spots at the moment, but just this week it was announced that another small bar on 8th Ave has been approved (‘Henry on Eighth’) and it is expected a new Middle Eastern Restaurant will be opening soon. And let’s face it, surely there are plenty more enterprises coming to Maylands as well. But to do my due-diligence I drove around the area at 8.45pm tonight (Saturday) to see how many bays were available and below you can see that whilst there are a number of spare bays, Maylands is no ghost town at night-time. Eight Ave was fairly full, the train station car park was 50% full and of particular concern, 7th Ave had their fair share of cars as well (this is where I expect most people would park).
The proposed development has a number of other issues such as no dedicated on-site servicing area provided, so I don’t know how all the different suppliers of food, the beer kegs, cartons, soft drinks are going to deliver their wares without causing a problem. Or the band for that matter who will no doubt bring their own instruments and amplifiers etc. This however is a problem which probably has a solution, but not having enough parking on-site for even a fraction of the staff is something I can’t get past. In addition Council has received a petition numbering 101 people who are opposed to various elements of this development.
I am sure there is wide community support for a venue like this and that many people will be upset, and opposed to my position, especially if I still feel the same way when I vote. I considered staying silent on the issue and meekly raising my hand when it comes time to vote For or Against, but felt it is my responsibility to be transparent, open and respectful to the electorate. In addition it is my responsibility to vote according to what I believe is in the long-term interests of the area.
This decision is made without fear or favour and I feel the facts speak for themselves – as the Officer’s wrote in the Council agenda, “the scale and intensity of the commercial component of the proposal exceeds the capacity of the site, and will unduly affect the amenity of the area”.
I would love to see this tavern/small bar and live music venue in Maylands become a reality, but I currently believe the design needs to be scaled back so more parking can be provided on site.