INDIGO councillors say the big turnout and community support for ambitious plans for Mayday Hills won’t sway their decision on whether the council buys into the former mental hospital site and university campus.
Four of the seven councillors were among a crowd of almost 200 people at a meeting held on Wednesday night.
George Fendyk outlined a $1.5 million offer to council to buy land that included The Pines building and cricket oval as part of its future Beechworth offices, superseding plans to refurbish the existing offices in the town hall.
He said, while the figure is on the table, the developers were also open to offers.
It was that offer that saw councillors defer a decision on plans to refurbish the existing cramped and outdated Beechworth offices at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Indigo mayor Barb Murdoch said her final decision would be based on facts and numbers.
“I think it was a great meeting and left everyone in no doubt about what George intends to do with the site,” she said.
“But our decision can’t be influenced by what we saw on Wednesday night.
“We are talking about ratepayers’ money and so we need to assess what would be required to make that move and whether we have the finances”
Cr Jenny O’Connor said she was just glad that Mayday Hills was now in the hands of people who cared about its future.
“Clearly as a council we are still considering the offer to shift there,” she said.
Cr James Trenery, one of several Yackandandah people who attended the Wednesday meeting, said he was happy to listen to the developers.
“It is important that they talk to people and I’m pleased he (Mr Fendyk) is communicating,” he said.
Cr Bernard Gaffney said he was open-minded about the offer but would defer to the experts.
“I will wait to see what the experts say, in particular the building report,” Cr Gaffney said.
“But if for some reason we don’t move the offices to Mayday Hills then I would like to see the council still have a strong presence on the site, whether as a facilitator for an arts group or other community activity.”