Played to perfection

The Maylands Hall held the library until that moved to the Rise in 2011. Photo by Elli Petersen-Pik

WAYJO scores rent deal

THE WA Youth Jazz Orchestra will stay put in Maylands after Bayswater council approved a massive rent discount.

WAYJO’s been at the historic art deco Maylands Hall since 2015, paying $6,600 a year in rent, another $5,000 in rates and levies, and $11,800 on utilities.

Its lease is up for renewal and Bayswater council staff recommended the rent go up to $22,000 a year, offset slightly by the yearly rates bill being removed. 

That’s consistent with the new council facility lease policy, which asks for “funded” not-for-profits who get government money to pay 40 per cent of the market rent. 

Sweeter

WAYJO was hoping for a sweeter deal and brought out the big brass with a letter of support from WA Local Government Department director Duncan Ord.

“While the organisation receives a small amount of government funding, the subsidy provided by the department is modest,” he wrote, with the department’s $100,000 annual funding about 15 per cent of their turnover.

He wrote they add “to the artistic vibrancy of Maylands”. 

Bayswater councillors agreed and had them classified as a not-for-profit, which reduces the rent bill to $1,360 a year. The council will eat the cost of $5,000 in rates and levies, and even pay the $11,800 utility bill. 

Mayor Dan Bull said: “It’s a very important organisation for the Maylands arts hub and the arts community.”

Mr Bull would like to see the main hall opened to other groups. Currently one theatre troupe uses it, while WAYJO has transformed the basement into rehearsal space. 

Cr Elli Petersen-Pik added a condition to the lease that WAYJO provide two free community concerts a year, and open up the main hall for public access once a year.

“If council will go ahead in reducing the rent so significantly there should be something on the other side,” Cr Petersen-Pik said, adding the free shows “will offset in some way the reduction in fees”.

“I hear so many people in Maylands talking about this building, and not seeing it from the inside.”

In a report to councillors, Bayswater staff warned giving cheaper rent “sets the precedent” for other groups to try to get classified as an unfunded not-for-profit too.

The point of the new facility lease policy was to get a consistent rule in place and not have to barter with each group, and staff reckon this will lead to more coming forward “which will take a significant amount of City officer time to negotiate”.

By DAVID BELL

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