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CVC approves new Yamba music venue

Geoff Helisma

At the May 25 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, councillors approved a small bar and restaurant, which will be located in the former ANZ Bank premises at 2/4 Yamba Street, Yamba.

Councillors Simmons, Kingsley, Baker, Lysaught and Ellem supported the development application (DA); councillors Clancy and Novak were opposed, and councillors Williamson and Toms were absent. The premises, which will close no later than 11.30pm and accommodate a maximum of 120 people, is proposed to be named the ‘The Last Rites Bar’, the report to council stated, and the “restaurant will have a small stage area for live music [and entertainment”.

“There were 45 submissions received during the notification period,” the report to council stated. “Many submissions were received in support as being a much-needed music venue for local musicians, the local community and visitors.

“The submissions against the proposal raised issues in regard to noise, alcohol-related issues and the impact on the amenity of the locality, alcohol licensing and car parking/traffic generation. “Notably, the NSW Coffs/Clarence Police District licensing sergeant has objected to the proposal.” During debate, Cr Peter Ellem said Lower Clarence residents “are looking for domestic venues to congregate at”.

He said the applicant had nominated “quite a few safeguards … to mitigate social disorder” and that the “low key venue … won’t be the last of these types of DAs that will come to Yamba”. “I know of at least two others,” he said.

He said the supportive submissions were “mainly from local musos who like to perform live … the performing arts was one of hardest hit during covid … anything we can do to get them playing again and putting money in their pockets is a good thing”. Cr Greg Clancy said he “was dizzy from spinning” when deciding whether or not to support the DA.

While he supported the DA from a live music and no-poker-machines perspective, Cr Clancy voted in agreement with NSW Police’s assessment. “I realise it is part of the Australian way to go out and drink, but do not think it’s something we need to proliferate,” he said.

Cr Debrah Novak cited the proximity of her residence to antisocial behaviour elsewhere in Yamba, saying she had experienced “loud music, people yelling, fighting, vomiting [and] bins rolled down the hill, creating chaos”. She said there were sufficient venues that musicians “can play at” in Yamba and that approving the DA would impact on the two residences atop the shops on the opposite side of the road. She later emphasised, however, that she “did not at anytime say [antisocial behaviour] would come out of this venue”.

Cr Arthur Lysaught said there “is legislation in place to monitor all of this and … the licensee is responsible for behaviour outside the venue”. “It’s a small intimate venue … always shutting at 11.30pm at the latest,” he said. “I cannot imagine sensible people out listening to live music will bring the community of Yamba down somehow.” Cr Jason Kingsley said he didn’t believe the applicant was “looking for patrons who will engage in excessive drinking”. “It’s only a small intimate area and I expect it will encourage more of an up market [clientele] and that the music played there will be for an intimate setting,” he said.