Has there ever been a hotter topic in Mudgee than the Regent Theatre? Well, yes there have been plenty. But let's say in the last ten years? No way. Stockland development be damned, it had its time to tear a town apart.
I reckon if you polled 1000 people right now in Mudgee at random, responses to what should happen to the Regent would be split down the middle. Now, it can appear that the sentiment is overwhelmingly in opposition to the proposed DA, but those shouting the loudest do not a majority make.
Reading old Mudgee Guardian articles from the time the Stockland DA was going on, you'd think that it was a matter of life and death whether or not it went ahead. And depending on who you listened to the world would end if it did go ahead and the same if it did not.
The extremely unscientific reason I say people are split down the middle is because usually when I run into someone through work either for an interview or otherwise and the Regent comes up - it really is about half and half on opinion. Sure there are those that oppose the DA. They have an active Facebook group and I saw several dozen of them at the Regent on Monday.
But at the same time, just as many quietly say to me that it's a privately-owned building and it irks them that someone who has the money to do something with it is being held up in doing anything to it. Which is a great point, honestly.
I love the Regent, I saw a lot of movies there growing up and I even performed there in my primary school choir many times. Side note: Brown garbage bags made great 'Bunyip' costumes apparently. But I am truly unsure if it could succeed if it was turned into a multi-purpose performing arts centre.
It's a beautiful idea but the Mudgee region barely cracks 25,000 people, now that isn't nothing, but is it enough to sustain it? That's really the million-dollar question and one we may or may not see answered.
Whatever comes of the DA, it's only a matter of time before something else comes along for people to fight about on social media. I saw an old article from god-knows-when about the Church Street pedestrian crossing and the changes to the surrounding brickwork.
People were saying it would cost lives!
What do you think? Send a letter to the Mudgee Guardian