7 July, 2022
Tolga historians lose bid to locate new building
VOLUNTEERS from the Tolga Historical Society left Tablelands Regional Council’s meeting disappointed after they failed to get approval to establish another building on the site, but did have some success on what they will have to pay council for the lease of the land they use.
The society sought to establish another large shed on the property to house historical artefacts that are currently stored in the private homes of members, and proposed to locate the building on land they currently lease from council.
But for a variety of reasons such as limited space on the site, officers did not support the proposal, so the group instead put forward taking over a portion of rail trail land to accommodate the new storage shed.
This too was unacceptable to council due to complexities with the sub-lease of the land which would have also triggered the need for the society to pay rates.
Council was also not in favour of taking on the building as another asset that had to be depreciated and serviced.
Also of concern was that the number of buildings may continue to proliferate over time.
Officers recommended the application be refused but put forward the need for the society to pay $1118 per year for each of the two parcels they lease now.
Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Cardew said he was not convinced that all options had been looked at and suggested planning officers should investigate whether setbacks could be relaxed to allow the society to put the building on the freehold land instead of on rail trail land.
“That will solve a lot of issues that have been raised putting it on the rail trail land,” he said.
“It might as easy as relaxing boundary setback and allow the shed to put the building on the freehold land and that gives council some security that if in the event the society folds in the future, it will allow council to decide what they want to do with that land and buildings.”
Cr Bernie Wilce put an alternative motion on the table that he hoped would be an acceptable compromise – to refuse the sub-lease but allow the society to continue to operate under the current financial arrangements.
“The committee won’t be happy but I do believe, at this point in time, that this is best compromise between community needs and what current council policy and regulations dictate.”
Mayor Rod Marti said he had no doubt that Tolga Historical Society was highly motivated in the way they managed the site but he had “anxiety” about extending the parcel of land to the north.
“We never really had a plan for this – it’s just grown and grown and I do have some anxiety about the level of assets that are going to built on this site and the capacity of the society to continue to maintain the level of service they are doing now,” he told the meeting.
“It is a big task, managing these facilities can be quite onerous – I don’t think it’s time for expanding however we would like to help the society on the financial side of things and maintain the current arrangement they have.”
Council refused the application for the sub-lease but agreed to allow the society to continue to pay $165 a year for their current use of the land.
Officers were also asked to investigate whether the additional building could fit within the society’s current land if setbacks were relaxed.