Goulburn Mulwaree's changing demographics and increasing vibrancy are partly driving a push to develop and manage the area's 'night time economy.'
But former deputy mayor Peter Walker says the council needs to be 'on the front foot' if it is to harness the industry's full potential.
At the council's last meeting in November, he successfully called for formation of an 'entertainment and night time entertainment working party.' Expressions of interest for community membership are open and close on December 17.
The group will be charged with considering not just opportunities but current noise and public safety regulations, liquor laws, funding and the state's recent 'special entertainment precinct' requirements.
The working party will comprise a councillor, to be nominated early next year, and representatives from the Hume Conservatorium, Lieder Theatre, NSW Police and four community members.
Mr Walker said the increasing trend toward inner CBD living, the council's push for shop-top housing and more motels around Goulburn's city centre could create future conflicts with night-time entertainment.
"The main area of entertainment is several pubs and clubs in town and soon, the new Performing Arts Centre," Mr Walker said.
"More people will be moving around there and I think we need to address the issues."
He said he'd hate to see the industry struggle due to potential noise and other conflicts that could be addressed now.
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The council was already active with events such as the Blues Festival, Steampunk and Popcorn in the Park and he only saw these opportunities growing. In addition, some venues wanted more outdoor entertainment.
"Now is the right time to address these issues before it's too late," Mr Walker said.
"My terminology is 'let's put the horse before the cart and not have the cart dragged out when it's too late'."
In May, the state government passed 'Night Time Economy' laws allowing councils to declare 'special entertainment precincts.' It's aimed at promoting live music venues, while also balancing community expectations surrounding noise, public safety, opening hours and other aspects. Councils are permitted to set their own noise guidelines, extended trading hours can be granted and concessions on liquor licence fees are possible.
Under the legislation, councils rather than the Liquor and Gaming Authority, would handle noise complaints. In addition, people moving into these areas would be notified of the precinct.
Whether its appropriate for Goulburn is yet to be decided. But Mr Walker agrees with its framework in order to stop 'roadblocks.'
"I see it as an opportunity to pull together and have issues relevant to the business community be part of the process," he said.
"Tourism, legal requirements, economic growth and community involvement will benefit greatly."
The council will appoint a staff member to the working party. Mr Walker also suggested that former Blues Festival organiser Geoff Bell, who was recently appointed as a Create NSW advisory board member, be invited to join.
Former councillor Alf Walker said at the time that it was a great opportunity to discuss night time entertainment opportunities and the "right mix." But he called for a clear brief for the working party to be presented to a council meeting in early 2022, when expressions of interest were returned.
The move comes as developers construct more units and apartments around Goulburn's CBD. Anable and Ridley Constructions is underway with earthworks for 17 villas in Bourke Street, near Sts Peter and Paul's Cathedral. Apartments have also been built above the new Super Cheap premises on the corner of Bradley and Auburn Streets. Others are being constructed on the corner of Fenwick Crescent and Bradley Streets, while the nearby Luxe apartments are well established.
- Expressions of interest for the community roles on the entertainment and night time working party can be emailed to email@example.com or posted to Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Locked Bag 22, Goulburn NSW 2580.
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