Heritage decision by end of May

The fate of the old Morwell power station and briquette factory should be known by about 27 May, the chief proponent of the push to have the site heritage listed said.

Moe resident Cheryl Wragg said if the community bid was successful, the site would be added to the Victorian Heritage Register and protected.

Ms Wragg said heritage listing the site would create tourism and employment opportunities and urged critics in the community to support the move.

“If the application is successful that will provide an enormous opportunity for the Latrobe Valley to create and consolidate a huge industrial heritage tourism industry that integrates various industrial heritage sites around the Latrobe Valley,” she said.

“This is not about putting a cyclone wire fence around an old industrial facility and watching it deteriorate.

“It’s about creating an asset and facility of considerable interest that will bring people, money and jobs into the Latrobe Valley.”

In late March, Heritage Victoria granted an order to stop the demolition of the site while an assessment of its heritage value was carried out.

Demolition work on the briquette factory was due to begin late April and take about six months to complete, while demolition of the power station was scheduled to start in July and could take up to two years.

The power station was built between 1949 and 1956 and had a total generating capacity of 170 megawatts before it closed in 2012.

Energy Brix continued operating the briquette factory until it closed in August 2014, resulting in 70 job losses.

Advance Morwell spokesperson John Guy recently called on advocates to revoke the heritage application and said the site would deteriorate quickly and would become a financial burden.

But Ms Wragg said following the closure of Hazelwood the region had the ear of government to push for the establishment of a heritage tourism industry.

“I would ask people who have a high profile in this region to start talking up the positives and presenting to federal and state governments this exciting opportunity that could help transition the region’s economy on behalf of all the people who could obtain employment out of this new industry,” she said.