A modern lift proposed for the historic Beechworth Post Office has been shut down by Indigo councillors, left dumbfounded as to why it would even be suggested.
Australia Post released plans in September for a 1.45 metre long and 1.1 metre wide disabled lift, with a raised floor and hands rails, outside the Camp Street entrance.
In recommending councillors reject the plan, Indigo Council staff described the lift as a “hazard” for the footpath and said some disabled people would still not be able to use it because of its size.
VicRoads and the council’s community access and heritage committees were also among those who did not support it, and councillors voted unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting to reject the proposal.
Cr Larry Goldsworthy described the lift as “a blight on the landscape”.
“I think this application totally disregards the heritage and tourism significance of the site,” he said.
“I think if Australia Post was serious about providing disability access to the post office, they would actually consult with the local community.”
Cr Bernard Gaffney said the building would be the most photographed in all of North East Victoria.
“It’s a heritage building very dear to the hearts of people in Beechworth and Indigo Shire. Australia Post had a number of options - why they selected this option, I don’t know,” he said.
“People with a disability, who I have spoken to, are against this option.”
Australia Post’s proposal came after years of investigations into how to allow disabled access to the building.
Cr James Trenery said the council were still committed to providing access for people with disabilities, but the Australia Post idea was not the right one.
Seven objections and one letter of support were received in response to community consultation.
Councillors had the power to approve or reject the section of the lift that stretched onto the footpath, but any alterations to the building itself will be determined by Heritage Victoria.