Residents of Kings Cross, Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Woolloomooloo
E-mail sent to all City of Sydney Councillors on Wednesday 8 July 2009
Local Kings Cross residents were disappointed to learn that seven Councillors voted in favour of the Sugarmill Hotel’s application to use Springfield Mall and only two Councillors voted against the application.
It is unclear to locals what net benefits the outdoor seating yields. Locals have told 2011RA that anti-social activity (e.g. drug dealing) has been partially displaced from Springfield Mall into Springfield Ave and Darlinghurst Rd. However, the net benefit of this displacement, if anything, seems completely unclear.
The detriments to locals though, is obvious, as you have heard from many of them. It is unclear then why Councillors made the decision to support the application.
The decision seems even more unusual given that the recent “Cumulative Impact Report” prepared for the City by the National Drug and Research Centre indicated that Council should consider restricting the net availability of alcohol as much as possible in particular areas of the City as a strategy to attempt to reduce alcohol-related violence – with the clear implication that Kings Cross was such an area.
Council’s vote to approve the application has effectively increased the permitted patronage of the Sugarmill Hotel above what it has in its Development Consent for a period of time. It seems odd to locals that Council has voted this way given the recommendations in the National Drug and Research Centre’s Report to Council. We understand that Council had complete discretion over this decision – it therefore bears direct responsibility for it.
Councillors would know of the lobbying power of the alcohol industry and the information asymmetry between that industry and local residents. We invite all Councillors who voted in favour of the Sugarmill Hotel’s application to write to locals directly and through local papers explaining the rationale behind their vote.
Dr Sacha Blumen
2011 Residents Association Inc