Eden's Hotel Australasia to go back into developer's hands

Councillors have voted to offload the Hotel Australasia in a debated vote on Wednesday.

Three years after purchasing the building, councillors yesterday agreed to sell the hotel although Crs Sharon Tapscott, Liz Seckold and Jo Dodds voted against the sale.

Cr Tapscott had tried to move a motion to defer the sale for consideration of the hotel's role as a potential piece of infrastructure for the tourism industry.

"It is a public asset and the community will not get the benefit if we sell it to someone else. We bought it as a civic space and to upgrade the CBD, but the only person to get any benefit is the purchaser," Cr Tapscott said.

She said there would be increasing numbers of people coming through Eden and the Australasia could be used as a library, house the Access Centre and a Visitor Information Centre with plenty of parking for shuttle buses and caravans at the rear.

"We need to encourage them to come to the centre of town. We need to look at it in a different light; it could be a source of income," Cr Tapscott said.

Cr Dodds warned councillors the community would be disappointed when the details came out and it was realised how little was recouped. There have been rumours the council was willing to sell for $150,000, but these have not been confirmed. Council purchased it for $536,000 in 2016.

When the community becomes aware of the concessions made they will see there is no benefit.

Councillor Jo Dodds

But Cr Robyn Bain said Eden would benefit from the hotel being in private hands.

"Close to the ugliest building in the Eden will be regenerated and done so by private money. It's time for Eden to more on. I hope we can get on with it and Eden can move past The Pit," she said.

Cr Tapscott's motion was split with Crs Griff, Seckold, Dodds and Tapscott voting for the motion, but the mayor Kristy McBain used her casting vote to vote it down.

In speaking to the motion to sell the hotel Cr Bain said the amount of money that council had spent on it was a crying shame given the way it had gone, but she said if the asset wasn't doing what it needed to, then it needed to be sold.

"If we proceed as planned here, when the community becomes aware of the concessions made they will see there is no benefit except space for a community radio station," Cr Dodds said.

But the mayor Kristy McBain said it would bring new business to town and would be "a huge community benefit" and there would be discussions with other community groups to see how it could be used.

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