IS developer Dean Montgomery the knight in shining armour for the former Fletcher Jones factory in Warrnambool?
After years of inertia and decay at the site the citizens of Warrnambool will be praying the answer to this question is an emphatic yes.
Mr Montgomery, who recently bought the FJs building, is making all the right noises even describing his new acquisition as fantastic. He is exaggerating of course. It’s not in the least bit fantastic at the moment, but it could be.
With vision and some serious TLC (otherwise known as investment), the run-down site has the potential to be something we can look upon with pride and affection.
That’s what we all want isn’t it. Ideally, we would like to keep the silver ball for its quirkiness, its heritage value and for the simple fact that we just like it. It’s ours, an eccentric symbol of Warrnambool.
And it goes without saying that we would dearly love to see the rest of the site put to good use instead of being slowly left to rot.
To his credit Mr Montgomery has already come up with a reasonably good idea — a motor sport museum. And before the cynics out there start to scoff they should ask themselves this question: why not?
Warrnambool is not a motor sport town as such but does that really matter? A motor sport museum could work well if it was done properly with imagination, credibility and pizazz.
Mr Montgomery might be just the man to make it happen. He owns an impressive collection of motor sport antiquities, including cars driven by champions Peter Brock, John Goss and Dick Johnson.
Could it be that someone has finally come up with something that not only does justice to the site, but turns it into something that could have lasting benefits for the city? We will have to wait and see, but there’s a glimmer of hope.
The new owner of FJs appears to be genuinely interested in ensuring that his new purchase pays dividends, not just for himself, but for Warrnambool too. And that’s already more than anyone else has done for the old site in a depressingly long time.