The Trafalgar Railway Building Committee is searching for an organisation to lease the town’s vacant station building, after Baw Baw Shire declined the opportunity at Wednesday night’s council meeting.
TRBC has been on the lookout for a tenant for the building for more than eight years, in the hope it could be restored and become a useful community facility.
While the Baw Baw Arts Alliance has signalled its interest in using the building as home for art groups, workshops and perhaps a tourist and arts information centre, owners VicTrack preferred pursuing a partnership with a larger organisation.
BBAA asked council to head the lease in its application to VicTrack’s Vacant Rail Buildings (Community Use) Program, but council instead voted to support the application with a alternate head leasee.
Baw Baw Shire mayor Murray Cook said council was focused on maintaining its existing buildings and unanimously voted not to take on another lease.
“We’ve started a program to look after the buildings that we have. Everybody likes new buildings, but it’s just as important to maintain the ones we’ve got,” Councillor Cook said.
A BBAA spokeswoman said the group is setting up Yarragon’s railway building to be used in a similar way, with Trafalgar Bendigo Community Bank as the head leasee.
“The one in Yarragon is currently being developed. We’re hoping to do more workshops at Trafalgar and perhaps develop an information section in Trafalgar about the town and area,” the spokeswoman said.
“It would be a good opportunity. If we can link up the two by rail that would be good.”
A council officer’s report detailed that while the Bendigo Bank did not rule out becoming the head leasee for the Trafalgar application, it had advised the BBAA to contact council in the first instance.
“The feedback from the branch manager is that their preference is for council to be the head leasee,” the report read.