It also approved a new lease with Kidogo Art Gallery, which would allow a small bar, provided toilets were included in the existing building.
The Kidogo decision represents a significant breakthrough, with gallery leaseholder Joanna Robertson telling the committee she had acknowledged that including the toilets in the building footprint was the only way forward for her proposal.
Councillors decided to give in-principle support for the Moore Building Gallery application despite Fremantle Art Centre director Jim Cathcart speaking passionately against allowing the City to lose control of it as a cultural venue.
‘This represents a fundamental change in what the Moore Building is for,’ he said.
‘Under the new lease, it means the City is giving up parts of the property we now share.
‘The really important thing is what happens when the business is sold.’
Councillors discussed the use of the toilets, which would be shared between the bar and gallery space, and the capacity a small bar would be licensed for, which would be lower than most exhibition openings at the gallery.
‘It’s like Kidogo, ‘in-principle support’ sounds very familiar,’ Cr Andrew Sullivan said.
‘I don’t have a very clear idea on how a small bar gets used and how a gallery space is used and the way they happen together.’
However, the majority view was to send a message that the City wanted to find a way to make it work without sacrificing the gallery function of the building.
‘In the West End, it’s bizarre there’s no small bar,’ Mayor Brad Pettitt said.
‘The City wants more small bars. My view is we should put our properties where our policy is.
‘I think there is some value in us saying we support the principle but it needs to be really controlled to make sure it fits with what we want to achieve.’
Dr Pettitt said the beleaguered Fly By Night Club was an example of a licensed premises that delicensed on occasion for youth events.
The full council will consider the proposal on Wednesday, July 23.
Last year the City of Fremantle indicated its preference for small bars, defined as a bar with a maximum capacity of 120 patrons, as part of its Alcohol Management Policy.
After the meeting, Dr Pettitt said the key aim was reducing red tape by making a change of use to ‘small bar’ no longer a requirement.
‘I am of the firm belief that the more small, low-risk venues we can enable in Fremantle the safer Fremantle will become at night,’ he said.
There are currently five small bars operating in the City.
Small bars in Freo
Who’s ya Mumma, Corner Room
Whisper), Nairn St
application approved by Council
Mrs Brown, two more applications