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By: Eve Kelly

Is St Kilda better with a soundtrack?

Our community’s social vibe has, over the course of history, elevated with its vibrant musical culture. Latin, blues, reggae or rock, each venue and street has been known to attract residents and visitors alike with their quirky tunes.

However, our musical heritage is currently at stake. After noise complaints from Acland Street’s locals, Port Phillip Council has taken action to ban the live and amplified music in outdoor areas. Many traders, tourists and St Kilda tenants deplore the decision.

“I purposely seek out a latte where there is music playing. Why ban it?” says Peter K, a devoted and long-term St Kilda resident. “Don’t let the beige dilute the colour and culture of St. Kilda”, his partner supports.

Deputy Mayor Serge Thomann, who retained his seat of Catani Ward in the latest Council election, told the Age that the law was enforced in order to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines.

While the restriction was apparently introduced in June 2010, it seems it has only now reached the public’s ear. In recent weeks, several bar and restaurant owners around the area have been issued warnings by the Council for breaching the EPA’s requirements.

Jason Evans, who stood against Cr Thomann in the recent election, stated on his candidate pamphlet that, “We need to recognise our cultural activity zones and support their survival, not restrict them.” He also mentioned to the Age that he feels the removal of Acland Street’s musical ambiance will kill an already dying strip.

As of the October 24 election, the noise limitations backed by Cr Thomann have been in full force, despite the majority of St Kilda residents opposing the changes. Only time will tell how much the community atmosphere and morale will suffer from the enforced law.



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