Thursday 25 February 2016
Bega Valley Shire Council resolved this week to buy Eden's Hotel Australasia to restore and preserve the heritage value of the site.
In the past six months, Council has investigated the option of buying the hotel through engaging an architect and quantity surveyor to clearly establish the overall cost of restoring the heritage building.
Council’s Group Manager of Strategy and Business Services, Lucas Scarpin said that staff had developed a good understanding of community expectations by meeting regularly with the Eden’s Australasia group.
He said that working with industry experts and the community has resulted in a proposal to develop the project across six stages: acquisition and securing of the site; demolition, site clean-up and regulatory approvals; external restoration; internal restoration; and surplus land activation.
Mayor, Michael Britten said it was important to understand that there will be a considerable time before the Eden community sees any change to the hotel’s famous façade.
“While this is very encouraging news for the Eden community after such a long and dedicated campaign to save the Hotel Australasia, we must remember that most of the early work will be happening behind the scenes," he said.
“To start with there is a 60 day settlement, followed by the submission and processing of any planning documents, however, during this time we will be in regular contact with the Eden’s Australasia group to discuss community funding and support for the heritage restoration.
“Following settlement we will act quickly to secure the building which has succumbed to various acts of vandalism over the years. Once secure we will continue discussions with the Eden community on potential uses and raising funds.
“Our conservative estimates based on professional independent advice places the cost of purchase and restoration at around $2 million.
“Councillors resolved to allocate $1 million for the purchase and securing of the building and to continue discussions with the community on fundraising for the heritage restoration.
“This is a vital project for the Shire as tourism gateways both at Eden Port and Merimbula airport are developed and opened to a burgeoning interstate and overseas market.
“The net value of restoring an iconic local landmark in the centre of Eden will flow throughout the Shire, encouraging visitation and adding to our appeal as a coastal wilderness and heritage destination.
“Substantial community interest and support has been offered to Council for the heritage restoration, and even at this early stage of fundraising the Eden’s Australasia group has estimated that they can contribute about $160,000 towards the external restoration.
“They have also established a register for qualified tradespeople to offer time and expertise towards the restoration activities, and the chair of Eden’s Australasia, Peter Whiter, has kindly offered his time and expertise to project manage that stage.
“This is another exciting project for the Shire, and like many people I am eager to see the results. I look forward to working with the community to achieve a good result,” Cr Britten said.
For more information contact Bega Valley Shire Council on 6499 2222.