The latest in a long line of venue closures and council restrictions The Marrickville Bowling Club has had its late night trading license suspended after a noise complaint led to council discovering instances of non-compliance with the building code.
Forcing the venue to cancel late night events planned for the next six weeks as they appeal the suspension, the venue are doing everything they can to ensure they comply with all building codes so the suspension may be overturned.
The suspension was issued because, as Secretary Manager of the venue Kim Townsend explains, “the club had been trading with a continuance of its late night license, unaware that it had not fully complied with conditions set out in a deferred consent issued in 2008 before the abolishing of POPE licenses.”
Having to periodically re-apply for the continuance annually, a noise complaint earlier this year triggered the council conducting a examination of the license. “That is when they told us we were non compliant and asked us to lodge a new DA,” Townsend told Music Feeds. “The DA was then rejected on the grounds of a second noise complaint, a negative fire safety report conducted by council and lack of compliance with the building code.”
Appealing the suspension straight away, the venue say they have to wait six weeks for a decision, and are unable to trade past midnight in the meantime (despite having a 24hr liquor license, venues require consent from council to trade past midnight) and forcing the cancellations of numerous events on short notice.
“We’re doing everything we can to turn it around,” Townsend added, going on to point out that “we obviously want to comply. We have been given to May next year to correct the fire safety issues and have so far completed about 60% of these works.”
Some of the events facing cancellation include 4our‘s upcoming November 27th party with Peter Van Hoesen and Eric Cloutier and Picnic Touring and Events‘ November 21st party featuring Matthew Johnston, Cobblestone Jazz and Palms Trax. Speaking to Music Feeds of the suspension, Picnic’s Director Carly Roberts said that “it’s a devastating blow, and I hope it gets resolved soon – so that blow is only short term.”
“Sydney is experiencing some dark days, I can see how people concerned with a different business or pleasure model to mine might be blind to that – but rest assured that even if you can’t see or understand it, the cultural side of our city is dying and taking some great people to the grave with it. I hope something changes,” she added.
With only a couple of weeks notice, Roberts was luckily able to find a replacement venue for the party, hosting it at Jam Gallery in Bondi Junction on the same date, while 4our are announcing new details on Monday. However with bookings made through until March, the result of the appeal may see even more events searching for new venues.
One such event is Mad Racket‘s legendary NYE party. Having hosted events at the venue for over 15 years now, we spoke to one of Mad Racket’s brains-trust, Sydney dance music icon and DJ Simon Caldwell about their plans for New Years. “We’re not certain how long this will affect late night trading at the Bowlo, but we’re expecting it to be a short term problem which can be fixed. We’re still considering our options for NYE.”
Mad Racket aren’t the only promoters biting their nails awaiting a decision though, something the venue are well aware of. “We understand the urgency of it” says Townsend of the appeal, knowing full well that if the suspension isn’t overturned, many promoters will be left in the lurch with artists booked and no venue. Still she is very hopeful that the venue will win the appeal. “We want to do the right thing, and you’d hope that if you try to do the right thing, council will do right by you,” she added.
“We’ve got the backing of the community which is just so great because they really support the venue. We’re just hoping that prevails over people making a noise complaint once in a while.”
While hopeful, Townsend is still very aware that the venue have a battle ahead of them to keep the venue trading into the wee hours. “Late night entertainment in Sydney is a tough issue no matter where you are, but we just have to keep fighting,” she said.
The venue will continue to offer live music and entertainment during the day and early evening, but stay tuned for more news on the appeal in the coming weeks.