Getting in and out of a much-loved historical building will be easier when a ramp is installed at the Camperdown Court House.
The ramp will let people with all abilities use the community hub, visitor information centre and arts space.
Garden beds and paving on the corner of McNicol and Manifold streets will be reworked to include the ramp from McNicol Street with gardens on either side.
Mayor Ruth Gstrein said the court house was an iconic building right in the heart of Camperdown offering a visitor information hub.
“It’s important that we’ve got access for everybody to such a beautiful building,” Cr Gstrein said.
Cr Gstrein said access to the built environment was one of the key priorities in Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan.
“Council understands barriers to participation can affect the quality of life of people in our community, especially those with disability.
“We are committed to improving the liveability of the Shire through all our services, including management of our facilities.
“Access and inclusion, and how barriers to community life can be removed for people with disability, are important considerations.”
Cr Gstrein has been an ambassador with the tourist information service for the past five years.
“It’s a great service delivered by volunteers. It inspires people to stay longer in the town and that’s good for the economy.
“Visitors love hearing the history and the stories and the volunteers have got that deep knowledge of the town.”
Corangamite Shire Council and the Camperdown Court House Committee have been working together to finalise the design for the ramp.
Council consulted the community and held a drop in session to make sure the design was right.
Infrastructure Projects Officer Dean Finlayson said work would begin on Monday 26 July.
“A concrete access ramp will be constructed on the McNicol Street side of the building,” Mr Finlayson said.
“It will provide access to the two doors along this side of the building.
“Expansion joints will be installed between the exterior walls and bluestone steps and the concrete to prevent any damage to the original fabric.”
The ramp, and handrails which were installed at the front entrance in the last week of June, will have minimal impact on the appearance of the court house.
A heritage advisor has provided advice on appropriate location and construction methods to reflect the building’s historical significance.
The project is being funded by $125,000 from the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.
Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan said he was delighted that the Camperdown Court House was being upgraded to include an all abilities ramp.
“The upgraded ramp will ensure that this wonderful community heritage building is accessible to everyone in the community. It is fantastic news that with fitting of the new ramp, a magnificent building from the early 1800’s can continue to be preserved with equal access for all,” said Mr Tehan.
The court house was built in Medieval Gothic Revival style in 1886-7 to replace an earlier timber building. It was in use until 1990 when cases were transferred to the modern court complex at Colac. Since 1993-4 it has been a retail outlet and visitor information centre.
Work is expected to be complete by the end of August. The public toilets will remain open and be accessible.