WATTLE Range Council will spend up to $50,000 to investigate whether to spend $3.5m within the next five years for a new office at the Millicent and District Community Club site.
Councillors debated for close to an hour before voting in support of examining the suitability of the community club at last night’s monthly meeting.
Elected members also supported allocating $3.5m to council’s 10-year financial plan for the design and construction of a new office.
It was unanimously agreed the current building had exceeded its life, with councillors backing an upgrade to the facility.
The staff recommendations of Centennial Park, Apex Park and the existing George Street office as sites were rejected, with councillors supporting a move within the central business district.
Council chief executive Ben Gower advised the chamber the cost of purchasing the community club would be around $450,000.
Mr Gower said there were issues with the structural integrity of the 50-year-old club building, which would likely need to be demolished at a cost of around $150,000.
However, elected members raised concerns with the likelihood of the Davenport Street club remaining vacant if council selected a different site, which they claimed would detract from the aesthetics of the area.
“The bottom line is that community club is not going to sell,” Cr John Drew said.
“It will sit there and fall apart.
“It is not going to be bought as a pub and who else would buy a building like that in a modest town?”
Cr Deb Agnew threw her support behind the central location of the club, saying it would create “vibrancy within the centre of town just through staff numbers”.
“It is fabulous for connecting community members with staff members with what they do and where they eat,” Cr Agnew said.
“It just creates a vibrancy.
“All of these spots look good, but having offices in the middle of town would make it busy all the time.”
While most elected members agreed on the community club, Mayor Des Noll pushed for councillors to support a move to Apex Park.
Councillors dismissed the idea while raising concerns with accessibility and car parking.
Mr Noll told the chamber he had “walked around and worked out where the car parks could be”.
“I think Apex Park is the site,” Mr Noll siad.
“That site has been waiting for this for a number of years.
“You cannot go past it.”
Cr Brown said he supported the retention of the area as park lands and said he was concerned about the occupancy of the community club.
“If we do not acquire it, then how long will it sit there?,” he said.
“We will need to keep pouring money in there for insurances.”