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New skills hub for Castlemaine on former college site

Larry O'Toole and Mayor Machin look at Larry's red hot rod 1936 Ford.

The future is looking bright for the former Castlemaine Secondary College site on Etty Street.

Thursday 18 October 2018

Mount Alexander Shire Council has agreed to lease the former Castlemaine Secondary College site on Etty Street to create a new training, education and business incubator hub.

At a council meeting this week, Council endorsed plans to lease the Etty Street site from the Minister for Education under a peppercorn rent arrangement for 15 years.

It will now take steps to enter into formal lease arrangements with Workspace Australia and Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre for a section of the site.

The decision follows several years of negotiations about shared plans for the campus.

Mount Alexander Shire Mayor Bronwen Machin said the lease arrangement will pave the way for the development of a training and education centre for the local hot rod industry and office space for Workspace and associated small businesses.

The agreement will also enable students and teachers at the secondary college to continue using some of the campus with additional space for community groups.

“This is a wonderful example of an innovative and collaborative partnership to enable the former secondary college campus be re-purposed into a thriving community hub,” said Mayor Machin.

“The lease arrangement will secure the site for the future and bring enormous benefits to the shire in terms of jobs, training and employment outcomes.

“It will help Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre make their dream of a lifelong community education and industry innovation campus a reality.

“It will also provide security for Workspace to continue their valuable role as one of the largest business incubators in Australia right here in Castlemaine,” she said.

Councillors acknowledged the significant efforts of representatives from Castlemaine Secondary College, Workspace Australia, Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre, U3A, Castlemaine Theatre Company and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards to shape the plans.

Representatives including Maree Edwards voiced their support for the proposal during public question time.

Council will now prepare to invite submissions on its intention and the proposed leases in accordance with the Local Government Act. Further consultation will be undertaken in the future to determine the best possible use of the former oval at the site.

Council’s role as property manager is part of its commitment to support local business growth, build strong partnerships and implement community focused projects.

Image: Chairman of Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre Ltd Larry O'Toole shows Mayor Machin his rebuilt 1936 Ford hot rod.

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