Council to vote on $4m upgrade of historic CBD building
A PLAN worth $4 million to save the historic Toowoomba Soldier's Memorial Hall in the CBD should be approved by the council today.
Councillors will vote this morning to cement an initial decision last week to "consolidate and mothball" the ageing structure on Ruthven St.
It comes following the release of a special report investigating if the rear section of the building, which has been rendered unsafe due to lack of restoration work, could be demolished.
But TRC property services manager Kevin Wruck told councillors on Wednesday the Department of Environment and Science believed the rear could be saved and that the council should pursue alternatives.
"In order to gain DES approval Council has to prove there was no prudent or feasible alternative to demolition of the Hall section of the building," he wrote in his report.
"The submission provided to DES failed to convince DES there was no alternate use for the building."
Instead, councillors voted to upgrade the memorial section and mothball the hall section until funds were available to restore it.
The council was also successful in earning federal government funding towards the first stage of the project, which was worth half of the $4 million required to finish it.
Completing the second stage, which would be a full upgrade of the building, was estimated to cost $4.3 million and was allocated to the 2021/22 council budget.
Mayor Paul Antonio welcomed the decision, but said he was disappointed RSL Queensland had not been involved in the consultation process.
"I think as someone in a group in 2012 who decided we should upgrade the RSL building, I have to express my disappointment they are not partners in this," he said at the meeting.