Darwin council has delayed a highly anticipated vote on the proposal to build a new RSL on Darwin’s Esplanade.
Darwin’s Mayor delayed the vote after he received “vital information” about the proposal
He said he wanted his fellow councillors to consider the information prior to voting
More than 11,000 people have signed a petition against the RSL’s plan
A large crowd erupted in disappointment inside Darwin City Council when Darwin’s Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis informed the public the vote — which would clarify if the council supported or rejected the RSL’s plans — would be delayed while council seeks further advice and information.
The deferred vote follows months of tension between the RSL and Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema over the location of the proposed site.
Darwin’s RSL burned down in 2018, and the prime piece of land adjacent to the Cenotaph at Bicentennial Park has long been coveted by the Darwin RSL sub-branch for a rebuild of the clubhouse.
The club has previously said the site was important to veterans as it overlooked a battleground of Australia’s most significant World War II event, the Bombing of Darwin in 1942.
“This site is unique in Australia, it’s where they fired the first shots in the bombing of Darwin,” Darwin RSL Stephen Glouster said.
“It’s the only site where there was a battle in Darwin, so to put the RSL there would just help with the remembrance of it all.”
Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema, an outdoor harbourside cinema located beneath the land in question, has long objected to the RSL’s proposal.
The cinema, which sits less than 100 metres away from the proposed site, has claimed noise and light pollution from the development would clearly threaten its future viability.
“Having carefully considered the proposal, it is clear that the development would cause ongoing severe noise disruption to the cinema,” the Darwin Film Society has stated.
“Showing movies without noise disruption is crucial to the cinema and it is likely that the Deckchair Cinema will no longer be able to operate if the development proceeds.”
The RSL’s proposal to Darwin council says the development would attempt to mitigate any disruption to the cinema.
More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition against the RSL’s plan, which was tabled in NT Parliament in June.