Managed to scrounge up a bit more info today regarding why Guilfoyle Wreckers have a banner on the heritage building at 129 Durham Rd Sunshine.
After using the ‘Contact Us’ form on Western Health’s website last week and getting no response, I called random numbers there today until I finally got through to be told that yes, Western Health do own the land and building at 129 Durham Rd and also, that the engineering department plan to demolish the building but have not yet decided what they will do with the site. Yikes!
I got onto Brimbank City Council (BCC) straight away and was slightly relieved to be told that:
1) Western Health had applied for a demolition permit for the site but it had not been approved yet, due to the Heritage Overlay HO23_-_McKay_Housing_Estate_-_Durham_Road. (The words used were “it has been knocked back” and I got the impression that it normally would have been a rubber-stamp approval except that this site has a heritage overlay).
2) A council officer had just gotten off the phone with the Engineering department at Western Health explaining that they were not allowed to commence any works until advised by BCC.
3) That Natika (spelling??), the BCC heritage officer, will return to work next Tuesday and her assessment will inform what BCC allow Western Health to do to the building.
It was also noted that if the building was structurally unsound, then that would be a consideration in granting permission to demolish.
So – here is where I think we should put in just a little effort. Imagine if Natika gets back to work on Tuesday and finds some emails or phone messages from concerned locals supporting the retention of the original home of Headlie Taylor. Surely that will add more weight to determining how ”structurally unsound” a property must be before the cost of repair outweighs the loss of a heritage building.
Because, the retention of heritage fabric in a community does cost money. And with modern progress, and the other challenges faced in a municipality such as Brimbank, you can’t retain and/or maintain everything. But since I came to Sunshine 2.5 years ago, I’ve been staggered by the amount of nationally historic heritage buildings and places that I’ve learned were here but have been wiped from existence.
People are proud of the history in Sunshine. But without living amongst it…. it will be forgotten. Documentation of the histories and a few photos comes a very poor second to retaining what we actually have left.
If you would like to share your thoughts with BCC, here are the contact details:
Email: email@example.com Attn: Natika – Heritage Officer
Tel:+613 9249 4000 Fax:+613 9249 4351
- TTY users phone NRS on 133677 then ask for 03 9249 4000.
- Speak & Listen (speech-to-speech) users phone NRS on 1300 555 727 then ask for 03 9249 4000.
- Internet Relay users connect to NRS on www.iprelay.com.au then ask for 03 9249 4000.