Last days for Hill house

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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

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