Plans for a Mardi Gras museum have collided with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s ambition to create a cycling hub at a former nightclub in Taylor Square.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) had obtained in-principle support for a museum celebrating LGBT history and has set its sights on the former T2 nightclub building – which also originally housed Manacle bar – in the heart of Sydney’s gay district.
However, Moore has already pledged to make the building a cycle hire and repair shop catering to the cycleways being built nearby along Bourke St.
Mardi Gras chair Peter Urmson told the Star Observer they were hopeful of securing the whole site for use as a museum.
“By having a museum there we are commemorating a lot of the advocacy that’s happened within our community at Taylor Square,” he said.
“It’s the right size, it just seems absolutely appropriate that this is the museum.
“Ideally we would like to get the entire site because there is a lot to celebrate and commemorate; there’s 35 years of history and there’s a lot you could do in there.”
Urmson said he was confident the council would back the museum over a cycle hub and that feedback he had received from local businesses and the community had been overwhelmingly positive.
“My understanding is that [City of Sydney Council] are not firm on that being a bicycle hub and if there was community sentiment that they would consider [a museum],” he said.
A spokeswoman for the lord mayor said council would instead offer Mardi Gras an alternative shopfront on Oxford St which she said could be a better space for a museum.
“The team is committed to working with Mardi Gras to find a permanent home for a museum and a workspace,” the spokeswoman said.
Council bought the building in 2010 for a reported $5.5 million in a bid to stop it from becoming a late night hotel following a string of alcohol-related homophobic attacks in the area.
“We want to create a first class facility and a nerve centre for Sydney’s cycling community, integrated with Taylor Square south and other bicycle route,” Moore said at the time.
“The new centre will become a multi-purpose facility for the whole community to enjoy.”
Council had an artist’s impression drawn up of what the cycle hub would look like in its bid to get the site dedicated for cyclists use, as well as allowing University of NSW design students to draw up plans.
In August 2011, the city’s planning director revealed that the cycle hub could include workshops, tours, a cafe and bike rentals.
Mardi Gras last week approached candidates for this month’s City of Sydney Council elections seeking a commitment to the museum, with all making some form of in-principle commitment. Most left the location open to further consultation with the community.