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.