Prime Port Fairy wharf eatery site to be replaced

PORT Fairy’s wharf building will be bulldozed and rebuilt under a new plan to revitalise the precinct. 

Wishart's restaurant and fish and chip shop is to be replaced.

Wishart's restaurant and fish and chip shop is to be replaced.

The brick restaurant and fish and chip shop has sat alongside the wharf for more than 60 years but faces demolition if the public backs the plan. 

Moyne Shire councillors will vote on Tuesday to release the draft blueprint for consultation. 

A “very early” cost estimate puts a $2.5 million price tag on the project which will knock down the ageing building and replaced it with a newer low-profile structure. Moyne Shire mayor and port chairman James Purcell said renovating the building wasn’t an option. 

“The whole building needs replaced,” Cr Purcell told The Standard. 

“It’s old, the drainage is no good and there’s asbestos all through the roof.” 

Under the concept plans, the fish and chip shop and restaurant would allow diners to sit closer to the wharf. 

“The intent is to use the same building footprint so we don’t have to go through a planning process,” Cr Purcell said.

The port board has $1 million in cash reserves, but will have to apply to the State Government to make up the balance. 

“We’ll be looking to the state or federal governments to match that,” Cr Purcell said, adding that council was yet to ask the state government for money. 

The lease on the building expires in August but the building has already been vacated. Cr Purcell said he hoped construction would kick off following next year’s folk festival. 

Works won’t affect the nearby heritage-listed fishermen’s and old customs shed. 

Port Fairy historian Marten Syme said the wharf building, also known as the co-op building, was erected in the mid-1950s. 

He said he doubted whether the asbestos-ridden building would be missed. 

“It should be a gold mine for a good proprietor,” Mr Syme said. 

“It really has considerable potential if it’s well done.”

The port of Port Fairy is operated by Moyne Shire. 

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