After eight years at Hutchinson Street, Surry Hills, the Pride Centre is set to relocate to Erskineville Town Hall.

South Sydney Council voted last Wednesday to offer the building to Pride for a yearly rental of $67,000, although Council will retain control of the building’s meeting hall. South Sydney Council had been using Erskineville Town Hall as their council chambers, but a new chamber has been built at Council’s new Civic Centre in Lawson Square, Redfern.

Pride Centre directors are currently in negotiations with the landlord of their Hutchinson Street building, trying to secure an early release from their lease. The organisation pays around $120,000 in rent for that space each year.

Pride co-convenor Lou-Anne Lind told Sydney Star Observer that the move to Erskineville finally gives [Pride] the ability to do all the things we’ve wanted to do for the past 10 years.

Erskineville Town Hall was better located and more accessible than Pride’s current building, Lind said, and the move would enable them to expand their services and play a more pro-active role in the community.

Co-convenor James Nelson said the move would give Pride a street frontage in a vibrant part of Sydney. Recent consultations with community members had revealed that many had disliked the Hutchinson Street premises, he added.

The lessened rent bill would give Pride a stronger financial position and take the pressure off fundraising events such as the New Year’s Eve dance party, Nelson said.

Lind said that Pride would accommodate as many of our user groups as possible at the new centre.

However, at least two user groups will not be accommodated at Erskineville.

Luncheon Club convenor Carole Ann King told the Star that she was talking to South Sydney Council about an alternative home for the service, while a FitX Gym spokesperson said they were also looking for new accommodation. If no new premises could be found, the gym may have to be wound up, the spokesperson said.

The mayor of South Sydney, Councillor Tony Pooley, said he envisaged other gay and lesbian community groups, such as the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and the Quilt Project, would also move to the Erskineville Town Hall as soon as it is convenient for them.

I’m hopeful that this will be a successful venture both for Council and for Pride, Pooley said.


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