Originally written by NATHAN ANDERSON
IT will take Superman to count the number of people in the attic at 3am, a Southern Grampians Shire councillor has claimed.
Cr Des Brown made the comments during the council’s October meeting, referring to a recent Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision to allow Hamilton’s Attic Nite Club to extend its hours.
“It’s been a very sad week, firstly with the death of gentleman cricketer, Keith Miller, and also with the death of Christopher Reeve, who we all know played the role of Superman,” Cr Brown said.
At this point, Mayor Don Robertson questioned what this had to do with the topic under discussion.
Cr Brown replied: “I hope they soon find a replacement for another Superman because they are certainly going to need it – it will take Superman to do a head count at the Attic at 3am to make sure there is not more than 330-odd patrons.”
In a decision that took almost four months to deliver, VCAT member, Sam Cimino, late last month allowed the club to open until 5am on Saturday and Sunday mornings for a trial period of 18 months.
Once the trial has been completed, Attic owner, George Lekkas, would be required to apply for a permanent licence to continue trading until 5am.
Mr Cimino attached 14 conditions to trial, including restrictions on the number of people in the club at any one time, installation of noise monitoring equipment, a video surveillance system at all entrances and entertainment areas and closing all external doors and windows.
An acoustic report must be submitted and noise monitoring and limiting equipment has to be installed to the council’s satisfaction before the extended hours are in operation. The club expects extend its opening hours within a month.
As well as opening to 5am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, the Attic can open to 5am on Easter Saturday morning, Anzac Day and any day before a public holiday and up to 7am on New Year’s Eve.
Responding to Cr Brown’s claims, physical services director, Jim Nolan, said there were “plenty of people on staff that can actually count”.
“It will be a matter that we will be requiring the operator (Mr Lekkas) to adhere to and we may be seeking some evidence from the operator to give us a level of confidence he is actually complying with those (conditions).”
He said if the council was not confident the club was complying with the conditions, then it would consider taking other measures such as a head count.
Cr Belinda Williams said she was a little confused about the extension.
“I just wonder what we are going to do about those residents in Clarke St who found it noisy at 3 o’clock in the morning who will find it noisy at 5 o’clock. How are we going to look after them?”
Mr Nolan said music in the club would be limited to 94 decibels, measured in the middle of the dance floor.
He said there were requirements of the applicant to undertake an acoustic report which required him to monitor noise levels and install noise limiting equipment on his devices.
Cr Robertson pointed out that six of Mr Cimino’s reasons for the decision related to noise. But he wondered why an 18 month trial was needed.
“It seems a very long time to discover something is wrong,” he said.
Mr Nolan said he understood the reason for making it a temporary permit was to require another permit to be applied for if the extension went beyond that.
He said council would then be able to go through the same process.
“I suspect it is what is considered reasonable by VCAT to enable the applicant to demonstrate he can do the right thing,” he said.