While you’re reading this story people will be at the Black Cat on Brunswick St protesting against the City of Yarra’s plans to demolish the beer garden on the Greeves St side of the bar. As reported in the Leader (they have already pulled their story) and the Age, the owners were informed by council on Tuesday 22 September that they had until 11am on Friday 25 September to fix problems with it or the council would demolish it.
I don’t have all the details, but it seems that the owners have responded professionally by immediately obtaining advice from a structural engineer and taking quick action to address the most serious aspect of the problem: the structural integrity of the roof, which has been removed (below).
It will be interesting to see what council does next. Like the community garden issue, where council planned to remove all community gardens before backing down due to significant community objection, threatening to remove the beer garden altogether appears to be an unnecessary and inappropriate overreaction.
It’s simply the easiest solution for a lazy council where bureaucrats have too much power and (according to the Age article) elected councillors are not even sure what council staff are doing. I don’t recall voting for risk management cretins with no imagination or understanding of community values.
Another example of this lazy thinking was the plan by the previous council to build a new North Fitzroy library on the grounds of the Edinburgh gardens. They neither know nor care for what the community want, and we have to shout at them until they listen. It’s predictable, repetitive and unnecessary. They need to change their approach to these issues. They need to listen, consult and learn instead of making arbitrary and inappropriate decisions.
The council has an obligation to communicate with business owners and give them time to address issues. It does not sound like the owners of the Black Cat have been given much of a chance to modify the beer garden to make it safe yet to retain its social utility. The Black Cat has a lovely vibe that customers would like to continue enjoying. This recent review explains it well.