City stages site eviction

Inner_West_Courier.jpg


James Gorman
, journalist Inner West Courier - Inner City edition page 9 December 15, 2015

Screen_Shot_2016-01-05_at_2.39.46_pm.pngARCHWAY THEATRE GIVEN A WEEK TO LEAVE
The company, under artistic director Rachel Jordan, has operated for the last decade out of one of the archways beneath the light rail viaduct between Jubilee Park and Rozelle Bay.

However last week the City advised the popular theatrical group they had less than a week to vacate.
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Mr Parker said it was irresponsible of the City to evict the company.

“The arts community in Sydney is under enough pressure with federal cuts so institutions like this need all the help they can get,” he said.

[to read printed article, click image at right]

ARCHWAY 1 theatre company has flouted a City of Sydney eviction order in a bid to save their base.

The company, under artistic director Rachel Jordan, has operated for the last decade out of one of the archways beneath the light rail viaduct between Jubilee Park and Rozelle Bay.

However last week the City advised the popular theatrical group they had less than a week to vacate.

They are now seeking legal advice and have refused to leave the premises.

For the last three years Ms Jordan said the company’s future was uncertain as it had not been included in the City’s Johnstons Creek precinct masterplan.

A City of Sydney spokesman said the theatre had no lease agreement and there were fire and safety risks.

But Ms Jordan said she had attempted many times to meet council officials including the Lord Mayor.

News of the company’s impending closure quickly made its way through the community. Social advocate and Millers Point patron Eva Cox, Balmain Greens state MP Jamie Parker and City of Sydney councillor Irene Doutney all stand behind the embattled group.

“We approached the City three years ago and tried to officiate our tenancy and we managed to get an accommodation grant, so we were recognised in a capacity,” Ms Jordan said.

“However, everything in relation to the Johnstons Creek precinct masterplan was ignored ... we were sidelined and ignored.

“Nobody wanted to talk about us being included in the plan.”

Mr Parker said it was irresponsible of the City to evict the company.

“The arts community in Sydney is under enough pressure with federal cuts so institutions like this need all the help they can get,” he said.

“It is disappointing that the City of Sydney is not respecting the enormous contribution this organisation has played.”

A City spokesman said: “The Archway 1 Theatre does not have a lease agreement … as long ago as 2012, the operators were informed that theatre use was not authorised and could not continue without approval.

“At present there is no development consent approving the use of the archway as a theatre or coffee shop.

“As the area is part of a park, there are limited uses which can be allowed. Use as a theatre is prohibited under planning rules.

“The Archway 1 Theatre was recently ordered to stop theatrical performances and coffee shop operations beneath the light rail viaduct due to fire hazard and other safety risks.

“An inspection by council’s building surveyors uncovered a series of public safety concerns over temporary internal structures and fire issues within the building.

“Access and essential fire services within the building do not meet requirements of the Building Code of Australia and may pose a risk to the occupants of the building.

“The City has offered the company alternative venues for scheduled performances and will discuss waiving hire fees.”


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