Tell the premier to act, says National Trust

The National Trust thinks further needs to be done to restore the Mount Buffalo Chalet and make it viable. Picture: MARK JESSER
The National Trust thinks further needs to be done to restore the Mount Buffalo Chalet and make it viable. Picture: MARK JESSER

The National Trust wants further restoration done to the Mount Buffalo Chalet and has issued a call-to-arms to supporters to ensure their voices are heard.

The trust’s advocacy team inspected the $2.8 million works being undertaken in February and regarded the building to be watertight.

They were pleased to see the works addressed significant structural issues but noted they were limited to a small part of the chalet, and are advocating for a viable use for the building to be found.

Chief executive Simon Ambrose said residents should “write to Premier Daniel Andrews to express their deep concerns about the future of the chalet”.

“Call for funding to be provided to enable Parks Victoria to fulfill their obligation to look after this place on behalf of the people of Victoria,” he said.

The Border Mail revealed this week  of $7.2 million available to the chalet in an insurance pay-out, only half was spent on actual works to the building, with some money spent on food and accomodation for Parks staff and contractors.

Documents show plans to redevelop the chalet had been dropped at one point in time.

Northern MLC Jaclyn Symes said there were questions to answer but an audit into the insurance money would not be likely.

“I’ve got some sympathy for ‘let’s just get on with it’, because it’s been stalled for so long,” she said.

“Let’s just get this planning done and let’s get started.”

A feasibility study into tourism offerings on Mount Buffalo, as proposed by an advisory group appointed in 2015, will be conducted with $200,000 announced on Wednesday.

Ian Browne, a descendant of the Mansfield family linked to the chalet, believes the building and surrounding land should be put on a separate title.

“The only thing that will save the chalet is if it becomes commercial and viable in its own right,” he said.

“One of the gatekeepers here is Parks Victoria and they need to let go.

“You wouldn’t get much change out of $100 million bringing it up to a standard required of modern day – to encourage someone to spend the sort of money, you would have to give a 70 or 90 years lease.”