What’s happening with the Old Mill?

A rejuvenation of The Old Mill, Gundagai’s oldest building, has been on the local council’s agenda since 2018.

Things got a little tense during the public forum at last week’s July council meeting when resident Gordon Lindley asked about the progress of The Old Mill project.

Gundagai’s oldest building, The Old Mill is set to be restored and transformed into an agritourism destination after the council purchased the property in early 2018.

Initial funding for redevelopment of the historic building was $200,000 of which $35,000 has been expended on engineering and architectural purposes.

A further $687,530 was announced in March through the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund. That money will enable structural works to be undertaken which will stabilise the building as well as the addition of access ramps, veranda upgrades, and renovated bathroom facilities.

Mr Lindley, who has been heavily involved in the project, took to the podium during the open forum to ask about the status of the initial funding as well as the progress of the project. 

“I’m just wondering about the money that was allocated, that it’s still there?” Mr Lindley said.

“Where are we up to with this? I believe when [former manager of community and culture Miriam Crane] left, you put everything in place for it, more or less, to go to tender. Is that correct?”

Interim general manager Les McMahon said, as far as he is aware, the money is still there, with $35,000 having been expended. He said a report will be brought back to the August council meeting giving details of where the project is up to.

Mr Lindley went on to ask Mr McMahon if he had received a report on the project from Mrs Crane, prior to her departure.

“So what will we know in August? I’m just wondering when this is going to start,” Mr Lindley said.

“This has been going on for quite a while, it’s taken a long time to get this funding. I believe Miriam’s report is completely finished?”

Mr McMahon said he would wait for a final report to be brought back to the council in August.

“So you’re not going to do anything at the present moment and you’re not going to answer my question whether Miriam’s report was complete? I’m sure it was,” Mr Lindley said.

Mayor Charlie Sheahan said he is not aware of the report. 

“I’m just the mayor here and the general manager is in the role as interim GM; he’s not sure, Miriam’s no longer with us on staff,” Cr Sheahan said.

Mr Lindley said he had previously spoken to Mrs Crane to make sure the report was in.

“She told me she definitely did and you being mayor, I wonder why you’re not on top of this as well,” he said.

Mr McMahon said a quotation from council staff had put the project at $1.5 million.

“That’s why I’m bringing it back to council to say where we’re going to find the money to pay for this,” he said, adding that he was not going to argue about the issue.

“I don’t want to argue either, I just want to know,” Mr Lindley said.

Cr Sheahan reiterated that a report will be tabled at this month’s meeting.

“Read the report and you’ll have all the answers to your questions,” he said.

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