A SYDNEY Council plan to urge major festivals to extend their events to Kings Cross and Darlinghurst has opened the door to a gay and lesbian museum, a councillor has declared, despite opposition from those loyal to Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

A motion by Cr Jenny Green, to seek engagement with organisations such as the Sydney Writers’ Festival and Vivid, was unanimously endorsed at the most recent council meeting.

Green, part of a coalition of independent councillors allied to Moore, said the proposal was in response to demographic changes and the need to support the areas’ local economies following the NSW Government’s “lockout” regulations on bars and clubs: “This is about trying to cater to the local community and lots of different age groups and provide options that aren’t all dependent on alcohol.”

Green said she was “very pleased” councillors across the political divide supported the motion as “something needs to be addressed as a priority for businesses and the local community to see some coordination by the festivals and some movement towards the two precincts.”

However, an amendment by Liberal Cr Christine Forster, that the motion also include reference to ‘installations’ and discussions take place specifically with the LGBTI population has reignited debate on a community museum.

Forster told the Star Observer: “The amendment I pushed through opens the door for the gay and lesbian community to re-establish dialogue with the City of Sydney over options for a permanent cultural or exhibition space on Oxford St.

“Oxford St is the heart of the Sydney’s [LGBTI] community and any council-backed facility there which celebrates our history, culture and future in the city would be an important asset in attracting visitors to the area,” she added.

“Unfortunately, Lord Mayor Clover Moore has resisted all efforts to progress such an idea.”

Forster said she would now be talking to community members to encourage them to bring their proposals to council.

In March, Green was part of a Moore-led bloc that voted down a motion by Forster to conduct a business plan into the viability of a dedicated LGBTI museum.

The councillor, who believes established institutions, such as the Powerhouse, should play a more active role in preserving the city’s LGBTI heritage, said a dedicated museum was “a debate that has been.”

“That’s a whole different conversation and that’s not where this [proposal] is placed,” Green said.

“This proposal is to do with business issues relating to the lockout – it’s quite separate.”

Green said she hoped the Vivid festival could be persuaded to create a light work in Taylor Square.

 

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