Burnside Council Hell Bent On Selling The Chelsea Theatre

A little while back I did a post called Why The Charles Sturt Council Suck, about the pig headed Charles Sturt council who are obstinately pursuing a course that is contrary to a majority of rate payers who voted them in.

Surprisingly enough, they are not the only council who seem to have an agenda. Enter the Burnside council lead by Mayor Wendy Greiner who’s agenda is to sell the Chelsea Theatre, again against the wishes of the people who put them in.

The fight to sell the Chelsea had been going on for months, a lot longer than the Charles Sturt council’s effort in trying to swap contaminated land so that they can redevelop the St Clair Reserve.

What has people up in arms about the Chelsea is that they see at an icon, one that has to be preserved and not sold of to developers that may tear it down or destroy it’s heritage value. Built in 1925 and refurbished in 1941 in the present art deco style, it was purchased by the then Burnside council in 1968 to save it from demolition. Too bad that the current council members are hell bent on it’s destruction.

What I find distasteful is that the building is actually owned by the people and not the council. The council are virtual landlords working on behalf of the people and should therefore get permission to sell it before going ahead with the sale. I would say by the uproar in the media that it is safe to say the council does not have that permission, and yet they have buried their heads in the sand doing all they can to go ahead with the sale.

One must wonder as to why this is so. Is there a hidden agenda?

According to the council this is not the case. I get the impression that the only reason for selling it is because the cost of maintenance is too high. According to an ABC Stateline  report it needs some ‘$46,000 worth of maintenance required to the roof and to the bathrooms.’ After lobbying the government by Grace Portolesi they agreed to come to the party to the tune of $25000, reducing the bill to only $21000. Surely the rent from Wallis, who are currently running the cinema would cover the rest?

Further down the article I find that Wallis are actually paying the Burnside Council $50,000 a year in rent. Shock horror. That alone would cover the cost of the maintenance bill.

The problem is that Wallis is also losing money and have only persisted with Chelsea because they understood they would be able to redevelop it into a multi cinema complex which would once again make it profitable. Rather than disfigure the cinema itself they would extend it next door allowing for more screens.

It seems the council will have none of it though and the arguments continue.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Mitch

    There’s got to be another reason somewhere, either dollar figures no one is mentioning or something else no one wants to talk about. I mean, if you replaced the original council and you’re getting the same results, it’s certainly not something personal.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..34 Questions =-.

  2. BS Artist

    We have council elections every few years so they are constantly changing. I reckon the council of 1968 saw the value of it and rather than lose it purchased it on behalf of the rate payers. It’s obvious that this present council have an agenda otherwise they would have bowed down to popular opinion and revoked the sale of the cinema.

  3. Mitch

    Just seems odd that no one would be able to find out what their actual reasons were.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..My 13 Favorite Singers =-.

  4. BS Artist

    Well from what I recall there have been some meetings where residents were forced to leave the gallery. Reckon they had some secrets to discuss.

    I’m pretty sure most of the council members will not get elected again, but the damage would have been done by then.

  5. diana

    I disapprove of the attitude of the Burnside council.

    they are holding a sneaky meeting tonight, at 7pm, to vote on rescinding the motion, passed previously, that the rate payers be allowed to vote on the Chelsea sale.

    You will not see notice of this in this week’s messenger, no, they waited until AFTER that had gone to press to make the announcement.
    And today is Thursday-they normally meet on a Tuesday.

    Wake up everyone, if you care, especially if you live in Burnside, BE THERE.

    1. BS Artist

      It seems to me that they’re not being very transparent at all, and that makes one assume they have something to hide.

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