A COMBINED arts hub, visitor information centre and community meeting venue in the former Camperdown courthouse has been proposed by a trio of local organisations.
The proposal by Advance Camperdown, Corangamite Arts and the Camperdown Rotary Club prompted Corangamite Shire Council to defer a move to seek expressions of interest for the potential commercial lease of the former courthouse, which has been vacant since March last year.
Advance Camperdown secretary Terry Brain told this week’s council meeting the community expected the council to give priority to public rather than commercial use of public buildings.
Mr Brain said the groups were well advanced in their proposal to jointly operate the former courthouse building in Manifold Street as a tourism, arts and community meeting venue when they heard the council was scheduled to this month vote on a commercial use proposal.
He successfully urged the council to enter into negotiations with the three groups to develop a formal agreement for them to manage the courthouse building.
The council adopted a similar motion to do so.
A draft business proposal put to the council by the three groups suggested the groups get a formal agreement to manage the courthouse for two years.
The formal agreement would involve the groups providing and managing a visitor information centre.
The draft business proposal also said Advance Camperdown’s trial during December and January of providing a visitor information centre with volunteers had received excellent feedback from visitors.
At the council meeting this week, Cr Ruth Gstrein called for the council to have a report prepared on the groups’ proposal by its April meeting.
This would give the groups time for discussions with the council and meet the time line that Advance Camperdown had suggested for the project to proceed, she said.
Corangamite mayor Chris O’Connor warned the groups might face a challenge if they wanted recurrent funding from the council for the proposal.