Thursday, August 27, 2015

The best for Bronte

YOU might have read in the Derwent Valley Gazette this week that the council has voted 6-1 in favour of a lease enabling the Derwent Valley Community House to relocate to Bronte House at Willow Court. Yes, mine was the lone vote against the document.

As discussed here before, I'm not opposed to the Community House moving into Bronte. It's a valid and sustainable use for the building and a way to complete its restoration. What I'm concerned about is finding a way to accommodate the Community House alongside the original proposal for visitor services in the same building. The latest proposals do not do that and I do not believe it is acceptable for a single room in Bronte House to serve as both the official entrance to Willow Court and the dining room of the Community House.

The original proposal for a retractable wall to divide the room in question proved unacceptable to the Community House and an alternative proposal was approved by most councillors in April*, under threat of losing government funding if the matter was not resolved by April 30. Four months later the matter was before council again last week, as the second proposal had not met the needs of the Community House.

The latest draft of the lease agreement, endorsed by the vote of 6-1 last Thursday night, provides the Community House with a nine-year lease for $1 per year, with no stipulation that a specific amount must be spent on essential renovations to the building in return for the peppercorn rent.

I remain confident that a suitable agreement can be reached but I don't think we are there yet.

* The record of voting for the April 2015 council meeting is incorrect. It states:
Cr Evans - Against
Cr Shaw - Against
Cr Belcher - Against
Cr Graham - For
Cr Lathey - For
Cr Triffett - For
Cr Bester - For

According to my notes the actual votes were:
Cr Evans - For
Cr Shaw - For
Cr Belcher - For
Cr Graham - Against
Cr Lathey - Against
Cr Triffett - For
Cr Bester - Against

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