The next step in the Hotel Australasia redevelopment saga is expected to be made by the developer, Great Southern Developments, next week.
Whether the old, closed pub is demolished for, or partially absorbed into, a proposed supermarket comes down to cost and car parks - and who foots the bill.
The 109-year-old building may still be demolished if retaining its heritage value exceeds the cost of the 47 car park spaces required for the supermarket, thought to be almost half a million dollars.
Developer Rodney Thompson has suggested approval authority Bega Valley Shire Council attribute the Section 94 car parking requirements, which he estimated to be $439,255, to the retention of the older part of the building.
Without putting a figure on it, councillors unanimously supported Cr Sharon Tapscott’s motion that council “consider a reduction in car parking requirements in recognition of the additional development costs associated with the retention and restoration.”
Councillors also carefully noted that their recommendation not be construed as support for any development application for the redevelopment of the Hotel site.
Mr Thompson said this week he is reviewing the original development application (DA) and responding to the 10 submissions received through its public consultation period in July this year.
“We should have everything to council by the end of next week and wait for council to advise us on the current DA,” he said.
“We are still looking at the current DA because until that’s approved we don’t have S96 charges locked in.
Manager of planning services Keith Tull said council is also continuing to process the original DA.
“If we receive amended plans that incorporate restoration of the 1904/05 section, council recognises there’s additional costs.
“We don’t know what they are but have indicated we would be amenable to offset those costs with car parking reduction.”
The developers other two options for the site were dismissed by councillors.
They were Option Two, that council purchase the part of the building with heritage value for an undisclosed amount and allow Great Southern developers to develop a supermarket on the rest of the site; and Option Three which suggested the developer donate the entire site to the council and community in lieu of two council owned blocks of land in Park Street, Merimbula.
Mr Thompson also has commercial interests on a third developed block in Park Street.