Pi­cabar march­ing or­ders

Guardian Express - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica War­riner

PI­CABAR own­ers re­ceived a let­ter on Thurs­day say­ing they had three weeks to leave the build­ing they lease from the State Govern­ment in the heart of the Perth Cul­tural Cen­tre in North­bridge.

The bustling bar has been run­ning since 2012, with the own­ers break­ing the news to up­set staff in the court­yard last week.

Co-owner Melissa Bowen said the lease had been month-to-month for some time, with as­sur­ances from the var­i­ous govern­ment de­part­ments in­volved over the life of the bar that a longer term lease would be hon­oured.

“We heard noth­ing un­til we got the let­ter from PICA last week,” she said.

Pi­cabar rents its space from PICA, which will be given a new lease from the State Govern­ment, but the bar area will not be in­cluded.

Ms Bowen said they met rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the De­part­ment of Lo­cal Govern­ment, Sport and Cul­tural In­dus­tries and the Perth The­atre Trust on Fri­day and the space would be put out for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est.

“We’re in­vited to throw our hat in the ring, we ob­vi­ously will do,” she said.

Ms Bowen said they were of­fered an­other few months in the space while ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est were car­ried out, which they would do to pro­vide more cer­tainty for their 15 staff mem­bers.

“We’ve ab­so­lutely worked our guts out and done ev­ery­thing that’s been asked,” she said.

“We’re happy to pay as much as you can pos­si­bly get for the space, we’re happy to in­vest our own money. We’re not ask­ing for a free kick.”

DLGSC di­rec­tor gen­eral Dun­can Ord said PICA was ad­vised by the Min­is­ter for Cul­ture and the Arts ear­lier this month that its lease would ter­mi­nate on Novem­ber 14.

Mr Ord said the build­ing would re­vert back to the State and be leased to the Perth The­atre Trust.

He de­nied any as­sur­ance was given to the own­ers that the space would re­main theirs to op­er­ate.

“PICA’s no­tice to Lazarus (Pi­cabar) to va­cate is a nor­mal part of this tran­si­tion process as PICA will no longer have con­trol over the bar area,” he said.

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