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Railway station goods shed.

Railway precinct upgrade a step closer

News Article Date: 
Thursday, 28 June 2018

A $1 million  upgrade of the railway station precinct - including the creation of 144 new free car parking spaces -  is a step closer following a decision which allows for the removal of a disused goods shed.

The Victorian Government owner of the railway land and buildings, VicTrack, applied to Council to have the asbestos-roofed building demolished in order to build the car park and other upgrades.

The proposal drew three objections from the community.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” Director City Growth Andrew Paton said.

“The concerns from the three objectors raised issues around heritage, public consultation and re-use opportunities.

“The planning team considered each of these issues and Council was briefed on the proposal on three occasions including a meeting with the owners of the site VicTrack”.

“It was determined that, on balance, the removal of the goods shed was the best way forward to secure the significant State Government investment for the precinct”.

“In its application, VicTrack presented a building condition assessment that reported the Goods Shed to be in poor structural condition and that without significant investment it recommended demolition.

“An independent review of that assessment was made and reached the same conclusion.

“The shed is a rebuilt version of an earlier goods shed which burnt down. It was modified over the years with the addition of asbestos roofing and iron walls which cover the northern platform of the shed.

VicTrack provided a community information session in July last year to brief the community on the upgrade proposals and to take on feedback.  

“VicTrack, as the owner of the shed, did not provide Council with any proposals nor investors for an alternative use of the building.

Any useable timber from the goods shed will be retained and incorporated, where possible, into the new work at the station.

“It was originally envisaged that this could go to a Council meeting for decision but it did not receive the five objections which would have triggered the need for the application to be debated at a Council meeting,” Mr Paton said.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Robert Anderson said he was pleased that the emphasis from VicTrack was about ensuring the precinct met the requirements of a 21st century transport hub.

“This was a tough call but the correct one,” Cr Anderson said.

“The retention of the goods shed, disused for many years and riddled with asbestos, could really limit VicTrack’s capacity to make a fully functional transport interchange.

“Importantly the proposal from VicTrack also considers improvements to access and pedestrian safety.”

Council’s Railway Precinct Plan, prepared in 2010, acknowledges the role the railway station has in providing an effective public transport system.

 

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