Council rejects Heyfield property purchase

DESPITE a plea from the Heyfield and District Historical Society, Wellington Shire Council has rejected an offer to purchase the town’s former police residence.

Council had first option to purchase the property at 11 Temple St, next to the police station, from the state Department of Treasury and Finance.

The land would be sold to council at market value, between $180,000 and $250,000.

Council indicated is did not require the land for services or open space.

Before council made the decision to reject the offer, members of the Heyfield and District Historical Society said the property could be used for the town’s museum.

For the past decade, the museum has been located in the old CFA shed in Little Temple St. However, there are issues with a lack of space and uncertain tenure of the building which the society rents.

With a lack of space, many items are stored in the homes of society members.

The museum comes under the umbrella of the Heyfield Recourse Centre, which is looking at the possibility of purchasing an adjoining block of land for a community garden.

While it was important to remember local history, councillor Peter Cleary said council purchasing the property was not the answer to the historical society’s problems.

“Ongoing costs are things that we’re going to have to consider as well,” he said.

“I think we’re all aware that budgets are tight, this year we’ve had a 3.8 per cent increase in our rates and there’s been a lot of work and pressure to get that down to 3.8 per cent. We’ve had to be very careful about what we do and where we spend our money because things are tight, and they will continue to get tight.”