Monday, April 22, 2024

Goulburn call for action on orphanage demolition

Goulburn Mulwaree Council is calling for action by the owner of the regional city’s fire-damaged St John’s Orphanage who it says has so far ignored demolition orders for buildings on the site.

“Prosecution proceedings have been commenced against the owner, as the existing demolition order for three smaller buildings on site has not been complied with,” Council said in a statement today following a meeting on Tuesday evening.

Council has also issued a demolition order the largest building on site, which it says has been subject to the significant fire damage (Building A)d. The period of compliance for the order concludes on 5pm, 31st January 2022.

“Council has indicated that they will pursue demolition and clean-up of this site strongly in court, following numerous fires over the past five years” said General Manager, Warwick Bennett.

“The site is dangerous, and all heritage significance has unfortunately been eroded away due to these fires with the buildings now beyond repair or restoration. Significant features such as the crucifix, stone elements and the foundation plaque must be salvaged.”

“It is very disappointing to see the property neglected, but Council has sent a clear statement in that they now want the site cleaned up, and they are open to future development to make use of the land.”

Council also resolved during its meeting this week that should the demolition order for Building A not be complied with by the deadline, the General Manager will seek order from the Land and Environment Court to enact the terms of the order (being demolition and remediation) and recover costs from the owner.

The local heritage-recognised orphanage was home to more than 2,500 children between 1912 and 1978.

The buildings have been the target of vandals, squatters and arsonists over the years. The most extensive damage was caused during a series of fires in 2016. The orphanage was most recently targeted by fire bugs in June this year.

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