Last days for Hill house
CASTLE Hill landmark Panorama House is on death row.
Townsville City councillors yesterday tabled a recommendation to demolish the building.
Panorama House is in a state of disrepair with at least $ 1 million required to bring the building up to standard.
The local landmark received a further $ 300,000 worth of damage as Cyclone Yasi stormed across t he North Queensland coast.
A commercial viability re- port card recently indicated the site wasn’t feasible to rent out to a third party for use as a tourist shop or cafe.
The report found the facili t y would bring in just $ 96,350 a year given that other businesses at the site had failed in the past.
A report tabled at the council’s Infrastructure Committee meeting yesterday indicated recent damage ruled out the option of the site being utilised by a community group.
Mayor Les Tyrell said the demolition of the building would go to tender t his month, the job expected to cost about $ 80,000.
Cr Tyrell said the rising repair bill was a major factor in making the decision.
‘ ‘ Unfortunately, through Yasi, there has been further damage so the cost of bringing the building back to a useable standard has risen once again,’’ he said.
‘‘ There has never been a successful commercial operation in the house and we are very conscious of that.
‘‘ It’s very unlikely we are going to receive a commer- cial tender for a building facing more than $ 1.3 million worth of repairs.’’
The area was recently cordoned off after safety concerns were raised due to high levels of asbestos in the building.
Cr Tyrell said the structure was not suitable for modernday usage.
‘‘ The building has been there for 30 or 40 years so it doesn’t meet the disability access standards required,’’ he said.
‘‘ As a result of the cyclone, the area has been declared as unsafe and the building has been boarded up and fenced.
‘‘ There is asbestos inside that we need to be very conscious of and we have to make sure the demolition takes place as soon as possible.’’
Panorama House was once earmarked as the site for a cable car during the 1990s and an application was made to turn the building into a six-storey, 35-unit residential development by a company linked to Chinese developer Ming Kong Chan.
Cr Tyrell said the council would consider a number of public uses for the site including a viewing platform or lookout.
‘‘ Once the building is gone, we will be looking for comment from the community as to what they want to see there.
‘‘ At this stage it’s important to demolish the building for safety purposes.’’
GONER: The disused Panorama House on Castle Hill