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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Willow Court topics on the table

The southern wing of the "barracks"
building at Willow Court.
WILLOW Court is the subject of multiple agenda items up for discussion at the monthly meeting of the Derwent Valley Council in the New Norfolk Courthouse this evening.

In one of the first items to be debated, Councillor Anne Salt proposes that the cost of tours at Willow Court for school groups be aligned with similar charges to use the local swimming pool. Cr Salt, who is secretary of the Friends of Willow Court group which conducts tours of the site, says this cost would be $3 per person instead of the current charge for Willow Court at $110 opening fee plus $6 per person. Cr Salt also proposes a review of the fee structure for access to council-owned areas at Willow Court.

Later in the meeting the council will consider the latest calendar of events proposed by the Friends of Willow Court for 2019-20. Regional development officer Jess Dallas recommends conditional approval of the calendar of events but notes that if developments at Willow Court move forward and/or any sections of the site are sold or leased to other operators, the approval for Friends of Willow Court to use the areas affected will no longer be valid.

In the next item relating to Willow Court, Ms Dallas has recommended that councillors allow general manager Greg Winton to negotiate with the Salamanca Arts Centre and Derwent Valley Arts on their proposal to manage the Willow Court barracks building and nearby Frescati House. In her report Ms Dallas notes that the groups have asked for the buildings to be transferred to them, but the terms of the proposed acquisition are yet to be discussed in detail. "The ultimate aim of the proposal is to develop a program that will provide a support and space for visual and performing artists to present a range of projects.  It is anticipated that the arts program would become operational in late 2019 to 2020 and would be an ongoing proposal," Ms Dallas says in her report.

The fourth item deals with an expression of interest from the Friends of Willow Court for adaptive re-use of the Willow Court site. This matter has been on the table for more than a year and the regional development officer asks councillors to decide on the progression of the group's EOI submission.

The fifth and final Willow Court item on tonight's meeting agenda recommends that the council agree to lease three buildings and a small yard to the New Norfolk Distillery. Ms Dallas proposes that the general manager be authorised to negotiate a suitable rental price.

Tonight's council meeting will be held at 6pm in the New Norfolk Courthouse in Circle St. The agenda documents for the open section of the meeting can be viewed at the council chambers in New Norfolk or on the council website.

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