After galvanising massive protests amongst not just Melbourne, but Australia’s music community when oppressive government liquor licensing laws forced the closure of the iconic music venue in January 2010, it appears that The Tote’s existence is again under threat. The Tone Deaf crew have been tipped off to a planning application submitted to VCAT and Yarra Council which is seeking approval to turn the venue in to a child care centre.
The planning application seeks to completely renovate the pub’s interior and exterior, while landscaping the infamous beer garden to install playground equipment and a sandpit. The application indicates that the area occupied by the venue stage at present is to be utilised as a ‘quiet time’ area.
A spokesperson for the applicant, Exotic Rites Early Childhood Learning Pty Ltd, which also runs child care and early learning centres in Brunswick and Thornbury, said in an email to Tone Deaf yesterday ‘while we recognise that the venue has had an important role in Melbourne’s music community; with the number of young professionals with young children now living in the area, the land and location are far more appropriately used as an Early Learning Centre’.
Exotic Rites will be embracing the cultural history of the building however, bycleverly incorporating it into many of their classes. Instead of playing childen’s songs all day, the kids will do arts and crafts to the soundtrack of God‘s My Pal and anything by The Drones. They’ll also be replacing ‘Musical Chairs’ with ‘Sticky Carpet’ where the first one who manages to get off the floor wins. And what will be on the menu each day at lunchtime? Tacos of course!