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Museum continues to divides council
City of Sydney Councillor Angela Vithoulkas has called for the Mardi Gras Museum to be granted a permanent home in Taylor Square, putting her at odds with Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
In a statement Councillor Vithoulkas said “a financially independent and successful museum would engage tourists, support employment and provide a boost to other local businesses in the Oxford Street area”.
“The T2 site at Taylor Square is ideal for such an important cultural, social and historic permanent museum,” she said.
The comments came less than a week after the launch of the museum’s debut exhibition in a temporary location on Oxford St, which council provided to trial a ‘pop-up’ museum in time for Mardi Gras’ 35th anniversary.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) have long had their eye on the city-owned T2 building in Taylor Square as the preferred site of a permanent LGBTI history museum, but council earmarked the building for the development of a bicycle hub in November.
Vithoulkas told the Star Observer that she supported a compromise whereby the space would have room set aside for both a bicycle hub and a museum.
“The community will benefit a lot more, economically and socially, if the space is shared. The fact that council is not even entertaining the notion is very disappointing,” she said.
Liberal councillor Christine Forster echoed Vithoulkas’ sentiments, saying that community support for a museum at the site was high.
“It’s such an iconic building, in the heart of the gay community’s spiritual home. It has two floors and I can’t understand why a bike hub would need more than one,” Forster said.
The comments stand in contrast to the positions of Moore and the four councillors elected on her ticket, who together form a working majority.
Vithoulkas was elected to council last year after turning down an offer to run with Moore’s team. She ended up running against Moore as the Living Sydney candidate in September’s mayoral election on a platform of removing bicycle lanes and cutting red tape.
During a heated election campaign Living Sydney candidates accused Moore of being “anti-business” and running Sydney council as a “dictatorship,” and the party threatened to sue Moore over claims of links between Living Sydney and the Consumers and Taxpayers Association, a group that organised numerous anti-carbon tax rallies in Sydney and Canberra last year.