Crown Street Mall buskers may be forced to audition and skateboarders keen to glide along the mall’s new smooth surfaces will have their wheels confiscated under a new policy from Wollongong City Council.
Under the draft Crown Street Mall Activity policy, to be debated on Monday, street entertainment will only be permitted in specific sites and on days determined by the council and buskers may need to audition to obtain a permit.
“[The] council seeks vibrant street entertainment in an appropriate location in order to promote cultural and social benefits while still appreciating the needs of local businesses, adjoining property owners and other users of the public domain,” the policy said.
When issuing its permits, the council will judge street entertainers on safety and accessibility and whether they are “authentic, diverse and engaging”. They would also need to be “attractive and high quality” and have “sound management practices such as timeliness, reliability and professionalism”.
“All street entertainment applications should provide evidence of current public liability insurance with a minimum cover of $20 million,” the policy states, noting this can be waived “when appropriate”.
There would also be a number of new “activity exclusions” under the mall activity policy.
These bans would cover asking for money for personal use, bill posting, spruiking, horses and skating and would be put in place to “ensure that the mall fosters an environment that supports and encourages a dynamic activity centre”.
The skating ban – which prohibits the use of roller blades, roller skates or skateboards within the mall – would be policed under Section 681A of the NSW Local Government Act.
This allows an authorised person – such as a council officer - to confiscate equipment if a skater has been asked to stop using it and then continued to break the rules.
The confiscator must issue a receipt for the equipment, and then can return it to the person within 24 hours or take it to a public pound.
If adopted, the policy will also govern fundraising collections, events and festivals, retail trading, food sale and seasonal events.
“A city mall speaks volumes about a city – how it is perceived, how it is used and importantly what is experienced and shared with other people,” staff said in justification of the policy.
Residents will be able to comment on the mall activity policy after Monday night, when councillors are due to vote to place it on public exhibition for 28 days.