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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Willow Court visitor attraction moves closer

THE Derwent Valley Council this week unanimously supported a proposal to develop a plan to have the Willow Court historic site open to visitors as soon as possible. The recent resignation of the council’s economic development staff at Valley Vision had created a need for the temporary employment of a consultant or contractor to consolidate the many studies, plans and reports relating to the Willow Court site, Cr Damian Bester said.

In particular, a business plan was urgently needed, to increase the council's chances of obtaining grants to aid the development of the site. "A comprehensive Business Plan and Development Strategy are essential components of any future grant application or request for government or corporate support," Cr Bester said.

"I have brought forward this suggestion after spending quite some time trying to adapt an earlier Willow Court grant application in order to make it suitable for the now-closed RCLIP grants," Cr Bester said. "Unfortunately, many of the documents required for a such a grant were simply not available to us. This includes a Business Plan for Willow Court, which is an essential component of almost any grant application."

"An updated Development Strategy will also provide Council with the necessary directions to undertake a step-by-step development of the site in the event major funding is not immediately forthcoming," Cr Bester said.

Cr James Graham supported the move, said it was evidence the council had heard the concerns of the public. He hoped there would be scope to extend the successful applicant's contract in the event they showed a capacity to co-ordinate the larger development project.

Deputy Mayor Craig Farrell said the funding of the short-term position was not a major budget issue, as the council was no longer paying the wages of two staff at Valley Vision. "This is an important role and this is the right move," Cr Farrell said.

Cr Narelle Molan agreed with the urgent need to develop a business plan. She also expressed a desire to see Willow Court developed as a place people would want to visit again and again, rather than just once.

Cr Scott Shaw also expressed his support for the move. "It is good to have a fresh approach," he said. He looked forward to the successful applicant reporting back with someething suitable for the council and the community.

Cr Judy Bromfield said she agreed with most of the recommendations but was concerned Cr Bester was suggesting too many duties for the new position. "We can't do all this in three months if we haven't been able to do it in nine years," Cr Bromfield said.

Cr Barry Lathey agreed with the recommendations but remarked that he was disturbed there was not already a business plan for the barracks. Cr Lathey also advised there was a report from the Willow Court Working Party, letting the council know of its agreement to become a Friends group under the council's auspices.

General manager Stephen Mackey said he would like to see the successful consultant report to the council on a monthly basis and this met with general agreement.

The matter was put to the vote and carried unanimously.


  1. This post should be linked with the previous post to retain the continuity and latest postings on this subject and public opinion

  2. What has happened to the promised second meeting for Willow Court?
    What has happened to that committee that was formed with great fan fair at the first meeting?
    Are the ratepayers going to finally be told that we are finacially liable for Willow Court?
    Are the councilors going to own up that they failed our community by failing to monitor progress of the finacial expenditiures on Willow Court?
    Will we see more resignations and appointement of people who can deliver to our community?
    Councillor Bromfield comment saying that they could not do it in nine years is a admission of failure. If the councilor admits her failures then will she resign with the others?
    It is time for accountability in our community and not more washing under the carpet with attitudes of "lets conveinently forget the past and move on" is the biggest irresponsible action of any kind as the first action is to remove those who have delivered failure to our commmunity and not to endorse their actions by forgetting their actions. They have had too much time, spent too much money already to allow them any more time or money. They have failed our community.

  3. This is a postive move but will the job be too much for one person in such a short time frame?

    Also the committee is active and still as eager and passionate as ever!!!!!!

  4. Welldone damiam on a good job you are doing you shoud have been the mayor or deputy mayor mybe next time you would get my numer one vote you are the fist to do somethink good job mate keep it up.

  5. There was a second meeting held for Willow Court, I attended it. Granted, it was poorly advertised & as a consequence poorly attended when compared to the first meeting.
    And as Jarvo said, the committee formed from that first meeting is still alive & well & doing what they can.
    I believe we got to "remove those who have delivered failure to our commmunity" by having our say at the last council elections. Or those of us that bothered to vote that is!