New faces fire up over old Hotel Australasia

The Hotel Australasia in its glory days.

The Hotel Australasia in its glory days.

The first major test of support from newly elected councillors for the historic Hotel Australasia may come as early as the first full council meeting on October 12.

BVSC said last month that it expected to have a finalised development application submitted by the end of September.

The DA will address the intended clean-up of the building and grounds, the restoration of the facade, demolition of recent extensions to the original structure as well as internal renovations and structural improvements.

Mitchell Nadin is one of four new councillors and told the Magnet yesterday that he was yet to reach a decision on which way he would vote.

“I want to see a compelling business case that shows ratepayers are going to get a return on their money," Cr Nadin said, adding that he appreciated the importance of heritage buildings.

“This is a new council with new priorities and we’re not going to be in the business of signing blank cheques for pet projects,” he said. 

Fellow new councillor Robyn Bain, who campaigned on the platform of ‘Stop Buying Buildings’, said restoration of the hotel was a job for private enterprise.

“I don’t believe that council should have bought the hotel, I don’t believe council should still own the hotel,” Cr Bain said.

“It’s dead wrong to assume that the majority of Eden ratepayers want to see the hotel restored,” she said, adding that roads should be a higher priority for the new council.

She called for detailed costings on the hotel.

Cr Bain said the election result – which saw the dumping of mayor Michael Britten and the election of new faces – confirmed her belief that ratepayers did not like the way the former council was being run.  

Cr Cathy Griff said the Greens were just as committed to the heritage environment as they were to the natural environment.

She said she was keen to learn more about the DA. 

BVSC’s other new councillor, Jo Dodds, was not unavailable for comment yesterday.

Then Cr Britten confirmed in July that council had set aside $1 million for the hotel – $550,000 on acquiring the building, with a further $450,000 for demolition and renovation work.

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