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New lease on life for former college campus

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

Thursday 19 September 2019

Mount Alexander Shire Council is set to sign a lease with Workspace Australia Ltd and Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre to pave the way for a new training, education and business incubator hub at the former secondary college campus on Etty Street.

Council endorsed plans in late 2018 to lease the space from the Minister for Education under a peppercorn arrangement for 15 years.

At the Council Meeting this week, Council determined to enter into two separate 15 year leases (comprising an initial five years and two options of a further five years), after considering submissions from a formal public notice period undertaken in July this year.

The agreement is for the development of a training and education centre for the local hot rod industry and office space for the business incubator Workspace and associated small businesses and community groups.

Part of the campus will continue to be used by students and teachers at Castlemaine Secondary College. A provision in each lease will see a minimum of 3 per cent floor space set aside for hire for community use.

Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Chief Executive Officer Darren Fuzzard acknowledged all parties that have been involved in developing the shared plans to repurpose the vacant site since 2014.

They include representatives from the Castlemaine Secondary School, Workspace Australia, Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre Ltd, U3A, Castlemaine Theatre Company Inc., and local Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards who spoke in support of the proposed lease arrangement at the Council meeting.

“Thank you to everyone involved in the discussions and arrangements to repurpose the former secondary college campus on Etty Street,” said Darren Fuzzard, Chief Executive Officer, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“We are excited about this partnership to support the development of the vacant site into a thriving community hub with office space and programs for start-up businesses and innovative training facilities for the hot rod industry, while enabling continued use of the space for educational programs and community use.”

Council is entering into a long term lease with Workspace Australia and Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre Ltd.

Workspace Australia and Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre will each make substantial investments to fit out the facilities.

Workspace Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support to local job-seekers and 60 small businesses in Castlemaine and Maldon. The organisation currently leases the old hospital site on Halford Street in Castlemaine.

Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre Ltd and partners plan to establish a life-long community education and industry innovation campus based around the local automotive culture. Occupation of the Castlemaine Secondary College campus will allow Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre Ltd to continue and expand collaborative projects.

Image: Mayor Bronwen Machin with Larry O'Toole from Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre Ltd.

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