City wants historic precinct

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

Build­ings in Roe­bourne’s her­itage­listed jus­tice precinct could be trans­ferred to lo­cal govern­ment man­age­ment in a bid to ac­ti­vate history-based tourism in the old­est town in the North West.

At a meet­ing last week the City of Kar­ratha coun­cil voted in favour of re­quest­ing man­age­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity and the free­hold ti­tle over most of the build­ings in the Roe­bourne Her­itage Precinct from the State Govern­ment af­ter com­plet­ing a fea­si­bil­ity study into the area and likely costs of restora­tion.

The precinct’s build­ings have been un­der State Govern­ment own­er­ship for years and are sel­dom used, but the study rec­om­mends that they be used for pur­poses as di­verse as a mu­seum, bed and break­fast ac­com­mo­da­tion, and art and learn­ing stu­dios.

It comes along­side am­bi­tious plans to de­velop Cos­sack into a historic tourism des­ti­na­tion un­der a man­age­ment and pro­mo­tion con­tract be­tween the City and Roe­bourne-based Abo­rig­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion the Ngar­luma Yind­jibarndi Foun­da­tion.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the in­ten­tion was not only to re­ha­bil­i­tate build­ings in the Roe­bourne Her­itage Precinct but to use them for tourists and the com­mu­nity.

“The build­ings in­cluded in the Roe­bourne Her­itage Fea­si­bil­ity Study are a fun­da­men­tal part of Roe­bourne and ma­jor eco­nomic as­sets in terms of their ca­pac­ity for ten­ancy and tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said.

“The build­ings are owned and man­aged by State agen­cies but should coun­cil take this over, we could fo­cus on restora­tion and at­trac­tion of long-term ten­ants.”

Cr Long said the City’s plans for the her­itage area would have “strong syn­er­gies” with works be­ing un­der­taken in Cos­sack.

The Roe­bourne District Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion, which has a long-term un­of­fi­cial lease over the Old Gaol and for­merly ran the Roe­bourne Vis­i­tor Cen­tre, is also pre­par­ing to ex­plore how the same precinct could best be pre­served and de­vel­oped as a her­itage tourism site.

RDTA chair­woman Eileen Wright said the group wel­comed the City’s fea­si­bil­ity study and was enthusiastic about re­cent moves to de­velop the precinct.

“We are re­ally happy about this and are hop­ing to work with the City in what­ever way we can to the mu­tual end of cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able tourism in­dus­try fo­cused on her­itage history in Roe­bourne,” she said. “This is Roe­bourne, the old­est town in the North West, but the her­itage po­ten­tial isn’t utilised at all and it should be be­cause it’s very rich.”

Most of the Roe­bourne Her­itage Precinct build­ings stand on land owned by the De­part­ment of Plan­ning, Lands and Her­itage, though sev­eral are owned by the De­part­ment of Jus­tice.

The City will dis­cuss plans for the area at a meet­ing with the Her­itage Coun­cil in Oc­to­ber.

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