MAYOR Geoff Kettle maintains it is business as usual for Council’s much-touted Archive Project, despite missing out on a Round Four Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) grant.
He said it had always been a “stand alone project” and that “nothing had changed”.
Council last year forwent its usual tender process to engage consultancy firm Lateral Projects and Development Pty Ltd to put together a business case to back the RDAF bid, paying an estimated $150,000.
The firm had successfully submitted an initial expression of interest but was not selected to submit a full expression. Due to the number of applications only one in three progressed to the next stage.
Mayor Kettle said the development business case would continue and that Council would apply again for Round Five funding (which is yet to be announced).
If that application fails it will continue to work alongside state and federal agencies on the initiative as a stand-alone project.
Goulburn Mulwaree was one of seven councils from the Southern Inland to make submissions but only three, including Upper Lachlan Shire Council (seeking funds for its community cultural renewable energy excellence business centre proposal), were successful.
While the desired ‘state of the art’ ‘purpose built’ facility may be a long way off, the project is progressing.
Mayor Kettle put forth a motion at Tuesday night’s meeting to retain the old Mission Australia building in Montague St, which Council co-owns with Upper Lachlan Shire, to facilitate short term archival storage.
He told his colleagues he had been working closely with the consultants and that inroads were being made.
During a recent meeting in Canberra, Council was told by a government department that if there was a storage space available now, they’d be willing to pay for it.
He conceded there would likely be costs involved in bringing the building up to scratch for archival storage but believed it would be worth it in the long run.
Cr Margret O’Neill opposed the motion and put forth her own: sell the building as is and get what we can for it.
“I believe with the economy the way it is we should put it on the market and see how it goes because it would cost too much to do it up,” she said.
“The building is deteriorating. I know it is part of the amalgamation (agreement) but we need to look at our assets and liabilities.”
Cr Robin Saville believed a sale would be shortsighted, arguing it was a CBD property with a prime location and that Council couldn’t continuously sell off its assets.
In order to commercially rent the property, Council would need to spend $330,000 on major renovations as well as a possible $120,000 improving disabled access. They would also be up for $10,000 a year in maintenance.
Alternatively, if they chose to sell the property, its current market value is $750,000 and 24.22 per cent of net profits from the sale would go to Upper Lachlan Shire Council. It would also put a dent in the budget stream.
After much toing and froing the Mayor’s motion was finally carried, five to four, with an additional motion tacked on that if the archive deal fell through, the property would be placed on the open market