At its meeting on Monday 8 November, Council resolved to demolish the Latrobe City Visitor Information Centre in Traralgon, while recovering any salvageable items with a social or cultural value from the building.
This decision was not made lightly, however, Council determined based on the information available that it is not in a position to relocate this building, due to the significant costs involved and the risk the building will not survive should it be relocated.
Council does not own the land where the Visitor Information Centre currently sits and has a lease agreement with the Department of Transport, which has now expired.
We have an obligation to remove the building from the site at the end of that lease, however, our advice is that the building will be unlikely to withstand a relocation, having already been relocated twice.
A previous assessment of the buildings in the station precinct by an independent heritage assessor did not list the building as having heritage value. Council recognises however that the value to the community is not one that is based on the heritage value alone.
Council met with the Traralgon Community Development Association and Traralgon Historical Society prior to this decision to discuss the future of the building.
Both stakeholder groups were requested to consider the options and seek additional feedback from their respective committees.
Their feedback was provided back to Council in writing in August and is available in the Council report.
While relocation was initially preferred by both stakeholder groups, both groups understood that the expense, associated risk and difficulty in locating to a new site were prohibitive factors.
We share the same feelings as our community when it comes to maintaining the historical features of our townships and will make every effort to preserve significant items from the building.
Our community will have the opportunity to decide where the key features of this building will go to ensure they are maintained and become a feature.
Visitor Information Services will continue to operate from the new Gippsland Performing Arts Centre when it is operational in 2022, with wayfinding signage from the highway and adequate areas for long bay parking.
Council is also aware of an online petition about the future of this building, along with members of the community who have indicated that they would like to organise a community meeting and have invited Council to attend to provide background on the decision.
Council is happy to speak to the community further on the matter and will provide updates.
Review the information relating to the Visitor Information Centre building, which was presented to Council for their consideration at the November 8 Council Meeting Minutes and Agendas page.