Following a Special Council Meeting, Brimbank Council has voted to protect the Sunshine Silos from demolition by requesting the Minister for Planning to apply an Interim Heritage Overlay to the site.
The Council resolution enables Council to suspend a demolition permit application in relation to the steel silos and related structures on the site until the Minister makes a decision on the Interim Heritage Overlay.
Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic said that the Council understood the Sunshine Silos were cherished by the local community and a significant urban landmark within the City of Brimbank, especially for the Sunshine community.
“Council has previously commissioned work to assess the heritage value of the Sunshine Silos and to inform the potential application of planning controls for their protection if they were significant. This work had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic which had prevented access to public records,” Cr Rasic said.
“While this was underway, the Sunshine Silos site was sold and concerns about its potential demolition started to arise in the community.”
With these concerns in mind, Council had also previously enquired about applying an Interim Heritage Overlay with the State Government Department of Environment Water and Planning and been advised that without a demolition application and a full heritage citation this wasn’t possible.
Following this advice Council wrote to the Minister of Planning asking that he intervene in this matter, recognising that we couldn’t request an interim Heritage Overlay at this time. Council is yet to receive a response to this letter.
“The completion of the preliminary heritage assessment and subsequent application to Council for demolition has become the trigger for requesting the Interim Heritage Overlay,” Mayor Rasic said.
The preliminary assessment concludes that the Sunshine Silos ‘is recommended as an Individually Significant place on the Brimbank Heritage Overlay and should be progressed through to a full citation’.
“Council is hopeful that the Minister will approve the Interim Heritage Overlay for a period of 12 months to allow Council to seek authorisation from the Minister to prepare and exhibit an amendment for permanent controls,” Cr Rasic said.
The demolition application was subsequently withdrawn on 13 January, after the Council report was prepared, however informed Council’s decision.
Mayor Rasic added that the Sunshine Silos had a significant role in the city’s industrial history providing critical grain storage and transport services in Victoria for 55 years.
“These silos are very much a part of our community and we know from consultation with our historical societies and other community members and groups, they are much loved and revered.
“Being on the railway line they are also a strong visual identifier for Sunshine and recently they were even used for the Sunshine Silos Film Festival.
“Council wants to both celebrate and protect our rich culture and history, and seeking the Interim Heritage Controls is an important step in making sure that these iconic silos remain a feature of our landscape for this and future generations to enjoy.”