Old cop shop remains idle

FOUR years after it closed, answers are still being sought about the future of the site of the former Sale police station.

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien wants the state government to explain why the site remains idle.

Speaking in parliament last week, Mr O’Brien said the government needed to speed up the process to sell the site.

“The new police station, funded by the Nationals in government, opened in 2015 and since then the old station on York St has sat derelict,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I’m aware there’s been issues with graffiti and squatters, and it’s time the buildings were either re-purposed, demolished or the land sold.

“This is a prime location on Lake Guthridge and close to the centre of town and could be used for boutique hotel accommodation, a restaurant, café or any other number of uses for the community.

“I understand there have been some issues surrounding the native title process relating to Crown land sales, but it’s time the Andrews Labor government explained what’s happening or got on with the sale.

“We don’t want this site to become an eyesore, and given its location it has great potential to be of good use to the local community.”

Mr O’Brien was commenting after revelations the government will dramatically ramp up Crown land sales in the coming year.

“While I don’t have any issue with the sale of surplus Crown land, this indicates that the government is struggling to manage its finances,” he said.

“Be that as it may, we want to see the old Sale police station site dealt with as quickly as possible.”

After the station’s closure, Wellington Shire Council rezoned the site, at the request of the state Department of Justice, from public use to residential growth zone so the land could be sold.

The rezoning was published in the Government Gazette in January 2016.

Since then, the state government has been seeking to resolve the issue of the removal of native title on the site, which currently prevents the sale of the land for development purposes.

The Gippsland Times approached the office of Police Minister Lisa Neville for comment. None had been received as of deadline.

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