More Oxford Street options
Continuing on from last week’s column, what other options do we have to bring Oxford St back under our control and stop the influx of homophobic thugs to the area?
Even if the owners of problem venues do get the message and start controlling their patrons while they’re on premises or out front, that won’t be the end of it. Thugs may learn to behave themselves when there’s a bouncer or barman watching but nothing can be done to control them on their way to and from venues.
And unless these venues suddenly decide they want to start marketing themselves to a different crowd (which is unlikely) these people are going to keep coming back.
What we need is a way to deny them any reason for coming to the area in the first place.
It’s fairly common in our community for people to spend $100 or more partying for an average weekend – some considerably more than that. Over the course of a year that adds up to more than $5,000 per person. Imagine then if enough of us were prepared to put our money where our mouth is and invest that same amount – the equivalent of just a year’s worth of partying – to fixing this problem for good, and in a way that would see a financial return for them as well.
If 5,000 of us were prepared to invest $5,000 each, that would raise $25 million. Others could put in less, say a few hundred dollars each, and any business in the area that relies on a predominantly gay clientele would be welcome to put money in too.
With that sort of capital we could form a company whose task it was to maintain and develop Oxford St into what it should be – not just a street that happens to have a few gay bars and businesses on it, but a world-class gay precinct.
With that sort of money we could buy problem venues and shut them down – either turning them into gay bars or transferring the liquor licences elsewhere or converting the properties into office space or apartment buildings.
Either way dividends would be returned to investors – and if the “more bars” option was pursued I’m sure other fringe benefits for shareholders could be included as well, such as discount drinks, members-only events and discounts or a lottery on venue hire for private functions.
All we really need is a business person or persons to step forward and organise it to get the ball rolling.
But if this does happen, please remember who suggested the damn thing and save me a place on the board – you have my email.
Email: [email protected]