A motion by Councillor Sharon Tapscott suggesting the heritage facade of the Hotel Australasia be incorporated into the developers' DA was passed unanimously at yesterday's council meeting.
The motion also suggests that car parking credits will apply in recognition of the additional costs the developer will incur as a result of accommodating the heritage façade.
Developer Rodney Thompson of Great Southern Developments Pty Ltd put forward three options for council’s consideration at the meeting. He also attended the meeting and spoke to his options.
The options were developed following ongoing discussions between Council and Mr Thompson to conserve, if at all possible, the heritage values of the building.
Prior to yesterday’s Council meeting Councillor Tapscott said: "We are hoping for the developer to take it to the 1904 look, which still exists behind the current facade. It goes back about 20 feet, as there are rooms and staircases which are part of the original building,” she said.
The Council will use Section 94 (car parking fees) as a financial incentive around the $500,000 mark, in support of the developer’s increased cost as a result of restoring the façade, to create an iconic building that presents the rich heritage of the site.
Mr Thompson is positive about the approach.
"We wouldn’t be doing it half-heartedly; we'll be doing it properly, or not at all,” he told the Magnet on Tuesday.
"There's the short term or longer term. The longer term is the path we want to go down, in terms of reinstating the heritage facade."
The proposal to retain the front of the original building is part of Option One, which also said that, if costs prove too great, then the developer should be allowed to demolish the building.
Option Two suggested Council might buy the front of the block, including the parts of the building that have heritage value, and the developer be allowed to develop and operate a supermarket at the rear of the site.
Option Three suggested Council swap the site for land they own on Park Street, Merimbula.
"It's taken longer than we would have hoped, (but) it’s not a major issue,” he said.
"Once they (Council) have made a decision we can get on with the DA (development application)."