No six-string for Springvale Restaurant

Cr Sean O'Reilly and Kingvale PHO both think the restaurant should be allowed to play karaoke. Picture: JONTY RALPHSMITH.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

A Springvale restaurant owner has been left disappointed and with a reduced customer base after being refused karaoke in its restaurant.

In a decision dubbed ‘un-Springvalian’ by Greater Dandenong councillor Sean O’Reilly at a meeting on 14 June, Kingvale PHO has been barred from allowing karaoke for special occasions or private bookings.

It comes despite a karaoke bar within 100 metres of the restaurant being recommended by council officers and approved by councillors at a meeting on Tuesday 14 June.

People would ask for karaoke a couple of times per week, which the Vietnamese restaurant on Balmoral avenue granted.

Since February, Kingvale PHO has stopped allowing karaoke after receiving a fine from police for playing music, something not allowed under their liquor licence.

The business subsequently applied for a karaoke licence from council, which was knocked back.

“People want to eat and listen to music and sing so they’re very disappointed when they can’t,” said owner Kim Anh Nguyen.

Kingvale PHO is a moderately sized restaurant with noise emission likely mild compared to a karaoke bar.

The restaurant has also explored the option and intends on installing double glazed glass to preserve the amenity of residents.

Council approved the karaoke bar at a meeting on Tuesday 14 June, with councillor Sean O’Reilly asking later in the meeting why one had been allowed and another refuted given the similar circumstances.

“[It] doesn’t make sense that nearby residents in the No 8 complex can warble something like “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams on their own karaoke machine [in] their own apartment, but a restaurant in Springvale that has done the right thing by apply for karaoke on their permit gets knocked back with no negotiation or compromise from council,” Cr O’Reilly said.

“Mayor, not allowing karaoke in a Springvale restaurant is like having a pub with no beer.

“It’s un-Springvalian.”

Cr O’Reilly was told council would need to have a closer look at the planning application for more specific detail but that council would generally seek to support night-time activity in activity centres.

After Cr O’Reilly addressed the issue at the meeting, council contacted the restaurant to say the decision would be reviewed.

Jody Bosman, director city planning, design and amenity said the initial decision was made on the restaurant’s use as the application did not reference a karaoke bar.

“Now that [the] Council is aware of the request for a karaoke bar, officers are working with the applicant,” he said.