Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

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Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:45 am

Dear supporter of the Melbourne Buddhist Centre,

A notice has been received from Moreland City Council informing us of a planning application for a pole dancing and burlesque dance school to operate in the building next door to the Melbourne Buddhist Centre.

The management committee of the MBC feels that, whilst we do not object to the school’s operation on an ethical or moral basis, there may well be a conflict of interest with regard to music, parking and the noise of classes coming and going that may interfere with our operations. A letter has been sent by the management committee outlining our reservations about this planning application being approved, but we feel that you, as a potentially impacted party, may like to register an objection to this application.

The school is already in existence – not a new business. They have an extensive web site and are currently situated in Victoria St, Brunswick. Bottoms Up! Burlesque School (http://www.buburlesque.com.au/index.html) Operations appear to be 6 days a week with the last class commencing at 8.30pm during the week. In addition to classes (burlesque and pole dancing) they offer hens’ parties and other functions and serve alcohol on an ‘as required’ basis.

If you feel the operation of this school may impact your participation at the Buddhist Centre, please send a letter of objection. You may copy and paste the following letter as a template.
Many thanks from the MBC committee for your consideration of this matter.
Letters should be mailed immediately to Planning Dept, Locked Bag 10, MORELAND 3058, or even better, emailed to info@moreland.vic.gov.au or faxed on (03) 9240 1212

----------------------------------------------------

Moreland City Council

Planning Department

Locked Bag 10

Moreland

Victoria 3058

For the Attention of the Manager, Planning Services

Name: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Address: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reference: Objection to Planning Application Permit no MPS/2009/585 Bottoms Up! Burlesque School

I understand that a permit has been lodged for the a dancing school to be set up next door to the Melbourne Buddhist Centre at 1 Pitt St, Brunswick. I attend this Buddhist Centre and I wish to object to the planning application for the Bottoms Up! Burlesque School for the following reasons:

How the application, if approved, will affect my participation at the Melbourne Buddhist Centre:

Car parking

Car parking in Pitt St and surrounding areas is already at a premium. The Bottoms Up! Burlesque school has classes of 10 plus instructors, but with Hens’ parties – they advertise the number of 15 plus participants for Hens’ nights. Their website http://www.buburlesque.com.au/index.html states that there are 10 persons per class. This, plus instructors and a swap over of classes on an hourly basis, could mean upwards of 17 cars coming and going in Pitt St at any one time.

Impact on my quiet enjoyment of the Buddhist Centre

Potential noise from music during our activities.

Many of the activities at the Melbourne Buddhist Centre involve meditation, quiet reflection and discussions. Dancing, music and associated noise emanating six days per week from a neighbouring property may have an impact on my own attendance at classes or meditation sessions and my ability to benefit from the centre. I am concerned about the level of noise that may emanate from a sound system used for dancing instruction.

Increased foot traffic and noise outside.

A potential swap over of classes on an hourly basis could mean upwards of 20 people coming and going to the building at any one time, and congregating on the street outside the Buddhist Centre, that has the meditation room at the street end of the building. This, combined with the consumption of alcohol that they advertise is served at their events, may significantly impact on the serenity of the Buddhist Centre.

Hours of operation

The current hours of operation of the Bottoms Up! Burlesque School will coincide with the Melbourne Buddhist Centre hours of operation. Generally there are courses and activities on Monday lunch time, Monday to Thursday evenings from 7pm until 9.30 pm, and Saturdays 11.00 am until 5.00pm and Sunday all day activities 2-3 times per month. This means that peak parking time, car traffic, and foot traffic and noise will coincide with those of the dancing school.

Impact on the organisation

The Melbourne Buddhist Centre is a not-for-profit organisation. It runs on a very modest budget and utilises volunteers to run many of the activities. The proposed commercial operations of the Bottoms Up Burlesque School may have a negative impact on the ability of the Buddhist Centre to provide the people of Brunswick and wider Melbourne with an appropriate venue for Buddhist activities.

Much of the Centre’s income is derived from teaching meditation, which for beginners and many practitioners requires a largely calm and quiet environment. I question whether a dancing school next door will be conducive to the current generally calm and quiet residential environment.

Any deterioration in the quality of the local environment may have a financial impact on the centre through a potential reduction in attendance at classes or meditation sessions and a subsequent reduction cash flow.
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:39 pm

Thank you Retro, I'd like to support the dhamma center in this.

:namaste:
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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby Nemo » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:40 pm

Retro;

What ever happened to the Burlesque studio? I would be a little torn about supporting your attempts to use government interference into rental of a commercial space. It could easily have been used against you by local fundamentalist religious fanatics who hate Buddhism. Though I would find drunk chicks who liked pole dancing rather distracting to my practice. Bwahahaha I think the Dakini's are messing with you. They will probably go somewhere else. Or perhaps your Sangha will fill up with bored housewives and divorcees.

Hmmmmm, where is your center again?
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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:04 pm

As a political issue...

In America there exists community groups such as neighborhood associations. I would suspect they exist in Australia as well. They have regular meetings and influence local politicians greatly. Local governments typically maintain lists of principals in these groups. They can then be contacted won to the cause and exert political pressure. Individual politicians serve in this manner also but community groups exert far more pressure to my experience.

At last resort is the local media, but only at last resort.

So first is community groups
Second is local politicians
Third is local media

Letter writing can run concurrent with the three but the three should not be put out of order, nor one started when the predecessor is not yet completed.

Geeze Louise hard to believe(certainly) but my varied life experience includes local political activitism within it. I even now current still hold a elected party political position, though that years ago left my field of interest.
So take it with a grain of salt but it is not a totally baseless opinion on how to conduct this thing.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby mettafuture » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:31 pm

As long as they're not doing the pole dancing inside of the Buddhist Centre, I don't think they should worry.
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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby Luke » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:37 pm

From the ordinary point of view, I can see how it might be frustrating to have a burlesque school next to a Buddhist center. However, from the standpoint of Vajrayana, it could be seen as an opportunity to practice. In Vajrayana, we strive to see all sentient beings as Bodhisattvas, and if we can't do this, we haven't practiced hard enough (I don't know if there are similar teachings about Buddha-nature in Theravada).

One might stereotype all the women who go to burlesque classes as depraved or unethical, but the reality might be different. There are all kinds of people in this world, and there might even be Buddhist burlesque dancers. It could even be an opportunity to make more people aware of Buddhism if you put up flyers which are visible near the dance school--and we would freak them out with our loud horns and drums and low chanting when we do Mahakala pujas! hehehe

But I know that Retro doesn't practice Vajrayana, so I can see how disturbing the dance school might be.

Peace and quiet is an impermanent thing like all compound phenomena. For example, we are building a new temple dedicated to Tara at our retreat center out in the country, so there is construction work going on during our retreats now, which is a little distracting, but not terrible. And before that, there was a sad mother cow who kept sadly mooing all day and all night because she had just been separated from her calf--poor thing.
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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:49 am

As to the specific. We are not all accomplished meditational masters. Of course many, includeing about all of the beginners, are going to be distracted from their meditations by such a thing. These things they are quite noisy and may have accompanying disruptive factors to a peaceful environment necessary for all but the accomplished meditator.

If I ran the center I would take action immediately to stop it. I would guess also if this was a theistic house of worship it would not be allowed for a minute. Education to the politicians involved on what type of place a Buddhist center is....may be all that is necessary. Once equated with a theistic religious place the necessity of disallowance becomes clear.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:05 am

Greetings,

Just an update for those who are interested. There were 32 objections to the proposal and on Feb 1st there's going to be a meeting facilitated by the council to discuss the various issues. A local councillor is also going to the Melbourne Buddhst Centre tomorrow to actually sit in meditation and get an understanding for the activities that take place, and how having loud music (and other possible distractions) next door would impact that.

I agree with Ron that "in theory", noise doesn't have to be a distraction, but that the practical reality is that noise is not conducive to seclusion, nor to the anapanasati and metta-bhavana practices that the centre teaches.

The centre is not mine personally, but it is the centre of a friend who introduced me to the Dhamma, so I am keen to help "return the favour" to some extent, and help bring attention to this issue. Perhaps a few of the 32 objections received were based upon the publicity generated by this posting and the equivalent one at Dhamma Wheel.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Help stop burlesque classes opening next to Buddhist Centre

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:17 pm

Curious

I was introduced to the dharma as a homeless teenager by a drug addict of sorts, many years ago.
I can never repay that debt. Glad to hear someone can in their own fashion.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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