Mildura Weekly : Friday June 26 2015 Vol 9 No 33
06 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2015 • From Page 1 Ms Gowty said there were cas- es of three or four generations of families who’d been schooled in the old buildings. “Why weren’t we informed? Why did we have to find out about it through a sign erected in front of our local store?” she said. The historic rotunda, which is believed to have been Nichols Point’s first classroom, albeit an outdoor classroom, was initially to be demolished by the end of next month, however talks be- tween Ms Gowty and the Victorian Education Department’s regional manager resulted in this being put back to August. It’s hoped the rotunda will be relocated to the new Nichols Point School grounds, however Ms Gowty said funding and com- munity support were needed to make this a reality, despite the plan receiving support from the Education Department. The future of the old Nichols Point School is much less certain, as it would be a much bigger task to relocate the building, if this is even possible or feasible. Mildura Rural City Council Mayor Glenn Milne said yesterday that while Council had no power to prevent the Victorian Govern- ment demolishing the old school building, he was concerned about the government’s plans for the land it currently occupies. “My issue is with the land. I really think the Education Depart- ment should be keeping it to fur- ther expand the school,” he said. “We’ve been sitting through a panel process that’s looking at the expansion of Nichols Point, and the belief is that Mildura will expand out that way eventually, so there’s going to be more pres- sure on that school, which is full already. “It’s a good school, there’s no reason why it won’t continue to be. It’s got a fantastic name, and the need to expand is almost at desperation point now, so why would you not hold on to the land to expand the school in the future? “Next they’ll be trying to force people with fruit properties be- hind the school to sell their land through compulsory acquisi- tion because they didn’t think it through properly now.” In terms of saving the old Nichols Point School, Cr Milne said while he understood the need to save historic buildings, the cost to the community needed to be considered. “I love old buildings. I think they’re magnificent, fantastic, and I hate the idea of knocking one down, but at some stage you have to weigh up all the costs,” he said. “It’s an old building, and the unfortunate thing at the end of the day is that we all pay mainte- nance on old buildings. I’m not saying it’s not a significant build- ing. What I’m saying is there’s a cost to maintaining all historic buildings, which can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not mil- lions if a lot of work needs to be done. “The community needs to ask those ques- tions. Not just about the merits of keeping the building, but we need to be mindful of who is going to pay and are we happy to pay that amount? “I think there is a need for more discus- sion and a rational sit down and say, well, if we keep this building, what’s it going to cost to main- tain? Who’s going to put up the money? Have we got the money? And what are we going to do with the building as a community?” In terms of criticism leveled at the Victorian Government over its lack of consultation with the com- munity regarding the future of the two buildings, Cr Milne said “it could have been done better”. • From Page 3 “I believe I would bring a different style of leadership to the role, with the Mayor’s role in my opinion to liaise and listen to councillors and the community. “I strongly endorse the current commit- tee system, as it has worked well, and I look forward to the proposed regular workshops to enable councillors to have the opportu- nities to discuss in detail the many impor- tant issues that arise in our community.” Cr McKinnon yesterday reiterated com- ments made last week, saying he saw no point in being drawn in to any discussion about Cr Cohrs. In a statement issued to the media last Friday Cr McKinnon said “the election of the Mayor is held at the statutory meet- ing in September each year, and that any councillor can exercise their prerogative to stand for the position of mayor.” He once again congratulated Cr Cohrs on his time as deputy mayor, saying that for the most part the pair had enjoyed a good working relationship over the past two years. He also said he would make his own intentions in regards to the mayoral role known to councillors in due course. Cr McKinnon reiterated comments made last week relating to the Barkandji Native Title Claim, stating that Council “made the best decision it could at the time based on the advice of legal representa- tives.” “Council has spent money on addition- al internal resources and a barrister to get to this point with the Native Title Claim, and as a Council we needed to be mindful of how we spend ratepayers’ money,” he said. 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Friday June 19 2015 Vol 9 No 32
Friday July 3 2015 Vol 9 No 34