A MEETING to decide the future of Port Fairy’s wharf building turned fiery on Thursday night.
More than 80 people gathered to hear plans for a new two-storey restaurant and fish and chip shop.
But feelings at the meeting quickly turned sour.
“People got their opinions across quite strongly, you could say, it was fiery. But it was good to see people are passionate about it,” Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell.
“The whole issue is whether it should have a second storey or not.”
Moyne Shire wants to demolish and replace the ageing building, which still contains asbestos.
The brick structure, known also as the co-op building, was erected in the mid-1950s.
“People have got ownership to the whole area and Port Fairy as a whole, which is why the town wants to see it developed the right way,” Cr Purcell said.
Baade Harbour architects will create several new designs based on criticism of the internal layout and height.
The new drafts will have to pass another community meeting and port board meeting before going to a council vote.
“The process from now is that it will go before another public meeting in another month’s time,” Cr Purcell said.
“It will give me time to have more meetings with the state government, particularly in relation to funding.”
The Port of Port Fairy has allocated $1 million towards the project, estimated to cost $2.5 million.
Port Fairy Business Association member Peter Bond also described the meeting as “volatile”.
He said residents felt they had not been consulted as much as they had for the recent Port Fairy streetscape works.
But he said the building needed to be given a facelift.
“It’s got to be updated. You can’t keep everything the same, you have to paint things and take out the rust,” Mr Bond said.