The future of the Hotel Australasia is once again subject to uncertainty after news that councillor Robyn Bain has a motion listed for the council meeting of November 2 that could change current plans.
Bega Valley Shire Council previously agreed to spend a maximum of $1 million on the hotel, $550,000 to buy it and $450,000 for renovation of the facade and tidying up the site but Cr Bain’s motion, if successful, could halt the spending plans.
“I want to return the Hotel Australasia to expressions of interest for private developers, but with the proviso that the facade is restored and the laneway is kept for council to use for access,” Cr Bain said.
Peter Whiter, president of Eden’s Australasia, the community group set up to return the Australasia to its former glory, said he was both disappointed and frustrated by the news of the motion.
“The disappointing part is that we had gone through a process with council, reached a point and saw a direction in which we played a part including fundraising and in-kind contributions.
“That process has started and we have plans for further fundraising and now Cr Bain believes council should get rid of the hotel and leave us with our plans in mid-air,” Mr Whiter said.
Eden’s Australasia committee member, Graeme Wykes was equally concerned.
“I don’t see how Robyn Bain sees it as a cost. It will be an investment and priceless for Eden. A private developer will not look after it the way council will. To move to a private developer is a disgraceful option,” Mr Wykes said.
They are both concerned that if a developer bought it, the Australasia would be “land banked” and would have no work carried out until such time that prices started to rise on commercial property in Eden.
Now a DA is in place, Mr Whiter said the group was keen to move ahead. The group has $9000 in cash and $65,000 of in-kind work and materials pledged. There is also a fundraising concert planned for the end of November.
However in reference to her motion, Cr Bain said that what she was doing was “putting up things that people have asked for.”
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