Wrecking ball for historic Port Denison landmark
The historic Fishermen’s Hall in Port Denison will be demolished despite a last-ditch effort by the community and three Shire of Irwin councillors to delay the wrecking ball.
During last month’s council meeting, Cr Ian West made a motion to delay further action on the Fishermen’s Hall until the council had time to consider a proposal from the Dongara Professional Fishermen’s Association.
The association said it would like to lease the building, built in 1894, and develop it into a fishing museum with the Irwin District Historical Society.
“We would be responsible for the cost of all maintenance and upgrades required,” Association President Greg Cole wrote.
“This means there would be zero cost to the ratepayers.”
A 2016 revised version of the Port Denison Foreshore Masterplan notes the former Bond Store could be restored to celebrate the region’s industrial heritage.
In February councillors voted in favour of demolishing the building and preserving “historically significant items” such as the original timbers.
The decision received a backlash from the community, with 184 electors signing a petition urging the council to rescind their resolution.
Cr West said pushing ahead with the demolition, “sends a poor message to the community on how the council handles requests”.
Cr West’s motion was lost three votes to five.
Irwin Districts Historical Society secretary Bruce Baskerville told the Midwest Times the community felt “shocked, disillusioned and angry”.
“But we’re a resilient organisation,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s a mood to just accept that decision, and we’ll look at other options we might pursue.”
The hall costs the Shire about $25,000 a year to run. It has allocated $30,000 in the 2019/20 budget to demolish the hall.
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