City of Perth rejects plan to revitalise Piccadily Theatre

Piccadilly Theatre.
Piccadilly Theatre.

A PLAN to revitalise the Piccadilly Theatre by opening a live music venue has been dealt a blow by the City of Perth, with council rejecting a request for sponsorship at last night’s meeting.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi opposed the proposal that the City provide $170,000 a year for 10 years to support the venue in exchange for promotion opportunities.

Councillors Reece Harley, Jemma Green and Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios supported the plan.

Cr Harley said before the vote he was “very disappointed” that council appeared likely to reject the proposal.

“The people of Perth and the business owners and the property owners that have written to us will also be disappointed,” he said.

Cr Harley said the proposal from Mellen Events would revitalise “a heritage building of state, indeed national, significance” and the surrounding area.

“This makes sense; the return to the City is clear. This is one of the most sensible and logical opportunities that have been provided in the City to see a new live entertainment venue in the heart of the malls,” he said.

Cr Harley added that bringing more people into the malls would boost local business and deter anti-social behaviour.

“Further information has been provided to councillors this week; the operator has a long history of operating venues of this kind,” he said, adding that he fears the old cinema will be “lost” if this opportunity is missed.

Cr Limnios said he supported the proposal because he “understands property”.

“The owner has proposed to invest $3.3 million to create activation. The Hay Street mall is getting an unprecedented battering because of the vacancy rate… the Department of Commerce report shows the benefits of this proposal… support (from the public) has been overwhelming,” he said.

Cr Green moved an amendment to change the resolution to approving rather than refusing the sponsorship request, but as Cr Limnios and Cr Harley had already spoken they were not able to second her motion, and the rest of council refused to do so.

Ms Scaffidi and Cr Judy McEvoy spoke against the proposal on the grounds it, in their view, constituted the City underwriting a private business rather than a sponsorship arrangement.

Cr Harley noted that at a recent council briefing on the benefits of the proposal the plan was “unanimously” embraced by the elected members present.

Ms Scaffidi and her supporters voted to reject the sponsorship request 6-3.

More to come.