|2 March 2018
In a bold move to drive forward economic growth and opportunity on the West Coast, the West Coast Council has purchased the property known as the Old Central School in Queenstown.
The Central Primary School closed in 1999 and the property sold by the State Government to a private investor in 2004.
The property was placed on the market in mid-January, with Council’s offer of $150,000 accepted and settlement occurring yesterday, 1 March.
“A lack of upkeep and issues with vandalism saw the building deteriorate and become an area of concern and frustration for both the Queenstown community and Council,” West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers said.
“The opportunity to purchase the property was discussed in-depth by Councillors as we all weighed up the options and risks involved in purchasing such a large property and its potential. In the end, by majority vote, it was agreed that the purchase of the school would provide an exciting opportunity for the West Coast community.”
As a leader for the West Coast community, Council has a significant role to play in facilitating economic development initiatives that will enhance growth and opportunity for the West Coast. The site has potential to be suitable for several development options, either with or without demolition.
“We need look no further than our West Coast Community Plan 2025 to see the desire of the West Coast community for improved health services in the region,” Mayor Vickers said. “At this stage our preferred option will be to investigate the feasibility of developing the site for aged and hospice care for West Coast residents and ideally the property is located next door to the West Coast District Hospital.”
Further consultation with the community, and adequate budget allocations, will need to occur at suitable stages moving forward and Council will be actively seeking partners from both the private and public sectors.
Funds for the purchase were provided via the State Government Accelerated Interest Free Loan Scheme.