Backlash against service station demolition decision
GRAHAM Burgess, 80, has lived in Mount Perry nearly half his life.
In that time, he's seen the town slowly lose many of its historical buildings.
It will lose another when the former service station at 93 Heusman St is demolished, which has now been fenced off by contractors.
Before being a service station, the building was the town's Holden dealership, and before that it housed the diesel generator which powered the town, according to repository of local knowledge Arthur Dingle.
Mr Burgess said North Burnett Regional Council should have worked with the landowner to prevent the building getting to its dilapidated state.
"It's been allowed to go to pieces, that's the problem,” Mr Burgess said.
Failing that, he believes council should at least have consulted with the community before the decision to demolish the building was made at the general meeting in Biggenden on May 1.
"If council was going to condemn it, they should have let someone know apart from the owner because we didn't know a thing about it until one week ago,” Mr Burgess said.
He said there should have been "public debate”.
"I reckon we should have been trying to pick up money to restore it because it is part of the history of the town, there's not much left around the town,” he said.
"It's not (an eyesore), it's part of the town.”
Mr Burgess said the service station could have become a part of the Mount Perry Museum complex.
"The museum's packed out up there, (this is an) ideal spot,” he said.
He compared the service station to the effort owner Bob Gilbert put in to restoring the Federal Inn.
"Bob pulled that bloody right down to the last nail and rebuilt it,” Mr Burgess said.
"Look at the job of it now. It's standing there, it's got the history and all the rest of it.”
A council spokesman said council had been working with the owner "for some time” to make the building safe, and the decision to demolish it was made purely due to public safety considerations.
"Council have facilitated where possible to assist with the sale of this building,” the spokesman said.
"However, due to the extent of dilapidation, the cost to repair and listing on the Environmental Management Register (not the Contaminated Land Register, as the Times previously reported), a sale was not able to be reached with any potential buyers.
"Members of some community groups have been involved throughout this process but decided not to move ahead with any projects due to the extent of deterioration of the building.”
The spokesman noted the presence of two heritage-listed buildings in Mount Perry: St Patrick's Church and the Masonic Lodge.
"Council seek to work with our communities to preserve our history wherever possible, but on this occasion that isn't an option,” they said.