The music may have stopped, the band gone home, but supporters of now-defunct Jade Monkey in Adelaide are still angry that the venue was forced to shut down last month when owners of the building it was housed in obtained permission to build a $65 million hotel next door.
Their eviction is due to the owners of their building, who also own the adjacent block where the hotel is to be built, deciding they’d rather not have a live music venue annoying the hotel’s future patrons, and instead will be building a carpark on the site.
The 150-year-old bluestone building was originally a bakery, and distressed music lovers in Adelaide were surprised to learn that the building had no heritage protection despite the pedigree and age of the structure.
But according to The City Messenger, the building which has been given full demolition approval, was in fact recommended for local heritage listing in a 2009 report prepared for the City Of Adelaide.
The confidential City of Adelaide Heritage Survey was commissioned by the City Council and prepared by independent consulting firm Donovan & Associates. It contains recommendations for 250 properties to receive local heritage listing, including tThe Jade Monkey.
Seventy seven of those properties are now being considered for local heritage listing by The South Australian Planning Minister, but The Jade Monkey is not one of them. This is despite a 1992 report which recommended the building for townspace listing, a form of local heritage listing that recognised a building’s contribution to a heritage streetscape.
But owner of the site, James Hines, says he was unaware of either report on the property. “What we do know is the building has never achieved local or State Heritage status,” says Hines. Adding that the building “certainly was not encumbered by any such heritage listing when we obtained our planning approval.”
A Planning Department spokeswoman declined to comment on why The Jade Monkey was overlooked, saying “this is the fourth major study of the city resulting in local heritage listings undertaken and, in the normal course of events, one would expect there to be fewer properties nominated in successive reviews.”
But according to a spokesperson for the city council, The Jade Monkey was rejected for townscape listing because the then-owner objected to the proposal.
News of the heritage proposal is bittersweet for Jade Monkey owner Zac Coligan, who was forced to close his doors last month so that construction on the carpark could proceed.
“The fact it (listing) has been looked into before probably adds fuel to the fire that it is worth being saved,” Coligan said, added he hoped the reports would add weight to the fight to save the building.
While the battle over the venue continues, the building has been put temporarily on the State Heritage register while a consultant undertakes further investigations.
The Jade Monkey saga is set against the backdrop of considerable pressure on Adealaide’s music scene as a whole.
Alcohol-related violence is a chief concern for Premier Weatherill and the South Australian Government, who announced the introduction of a new code of practice for licensed venues that will ban shots, glassware and introduce scanning IDs, a move that’s part of broader measures to curb increased violence along with more police enforcement and education program targeting the consequences of aggressive behaviour when drunk.
The move follows the South Australian government’s recent introduction of hefty new liquor licensing fees, with new tariffs for late night venues; vastly affecting the business and culture of many Adelaide-based clubs and live music venues.
In response, Business Services and Consumer Minister John Rau introduced potential hope in the grim atmosphere of the city’s dwindling music scene, with the introduction of new, cheaper licenses aimed at creating laneway bars and ‘hole in the wall’ hotspots across Adelaide’s CBD, similar to Melbourne and Sydney’s night culture.
The Weatherill Government have also hired Glastonbury booker Martin Elbourne as a ‘Thinker In Residence’. The new Thinker In Residence will be investigating licensing issues, opportunities for local performers and musicians and focussing on industry development.
But Mr Elbourne has his work cut out for him. South Australia is suffocated with some of the most archaic and inherently ridiculous liquor licensing regulations anywhere in Australia.
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