KINGSTON Council is scrambling to do all it can to save the iconic Mentone Hotel. Councillors voted on Monday evening to support any state government review of state heritage procedures to avoid the need for “last minute interventions”.
Councillors were surprised when the owners of the pub, Open Door Pub Co, announced The Edgy’s closure earlier this month. There are fears the new owner could try to convert the venue into a residential apartment block (‘Pub loss makes regulars edgy’, The News 12/11/14).
Cr Rosemary West said the potential loss of The Edgy, which closed its doors last Sunday, worried many Kingston residents.
“This really resonates with our community,” Cr West said.
“It is a stunningly beautiful heritage building and we have lost too much of our heritage.”
Cr Paul Peulich said council should talk up the Mentone Hotel’s “economic value” to the area despite some criticising the at times “rowdy behaviour” near the pub.
“Some segments of the community will bag The Edgy … the business gets hurt,” he said.
“[We] should do whatever we can to rescue the situation.”
Councillors agreed to support Liberal Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s request to Heritage Victoria to consider a heritage listing for the hotel to protect it from development.
Council will approach Mr Guy’s Labor counterpart, Brian Tee, if the Coalition government loses this Saturday’s state election.
Independent candidate for Sandringham Clarke Martin was the first politician to raise the alarm about The Edgy’s closure and is rallying Kingston residents to try to save it. He said a community consortium buy-out of The Edgy may be a way to save the pub.
“Over the last couple of weeks I have been in discussions with investors who believe that a not-for-profit model could be developed that would retain and develop the ‘Edgy Hotel’ as a community facility,” he said.
“We are proposing a mutual ownership structure. The owners of the Mentone Hotel would become individual members of the community, local institutions, Kingston Council and the state government. The consortium would seek debt financing from banks and not-for-profit superannuation funds who, we understand, have a strong interest in investments that deliver measureable social and environmental impacts.”
The Edgy would be run as “a community centre”, according to Mr Martin and “the Edgy Wednesdays night with live bands providing young people with a place to socialise in our neighbourhood” would continue.
Cr Ron Brownlees agreed the Mentone Hotel was part of Kingston’s heritage but said he believed council should not “contribute or buy in” to the pub.
“We should not get involved in that – we need to talk about the heritage value of the facility [to save it]”.
A public meeting to discuss the community consortium plan will be held on Thursday 27 November, from 7-8pm at Mentone Bowling Club, 2 Swanston St, Mentone.