EBAC heritage recommendation does not prevent PPB Advisory from progressing demolition permit application
On Friday 26 May 2017, the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria published a recommendation to the Heritage Council of Victoria (HCV) that the old Morwell Power Station and briquette factory should be included on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR). Following a period for comments, HCV will decide whether to include the site on the VHR.
PPB Advisory, the Liquidators of Energy Brix Australia Corporation Pty Ltd (EBAC), are seeking support from the Morwell community to accept Heritage Victoria’s recommendation for listing the site on the Heritage Register, to pave the way forward for demolition.
The inclusion of the site on the VHR would mean that there would be official recognition and recording of the heritage significance of the site. It would also mean that it will be necessary to obtain a heritage permit to demolish the power station and briquette factory. PPB Advisory and EBAC intend to apply for a permit as soon as possible.
Barry Dungey, the General Manager handling the EBAC remediation, explained that the initial process around inclusion on the VHR is based purely on a set of heritage assessment criteria which do not take into consideration the health and safety risks of the site’s dilapidated buildings, maintenance or renovation costs.
“It may sound counter-intuitive, but we hope the community will accept the heritage listing for the sentimental value it offers people wishing to ensure local artefacts are remembered. Once the listing is in place, we will be able to apply for a demolition permit and hopefully get the site remediation program back on track. If the heritage listing is delayed by objections to the listing, the overall process is likely to take longer.
“Unfortunately, the Heritage Victoria listing guidelines for registration do not take into account the ongoing costs these facilities place on land owners and creditors at this stage of the process. It currently costs approximately $80k per month to maintain the site with the demolition delay costs now exceeding $160k.
“The site has real value and potential for redevelopment which could boost the local economy, but only if it the power station and briquette factory is demolished and the significant amount of asbestos from the buildings is removed.
“If remediation is not able to progress, we are concerned the site could remain abandoned for many years with increasing health & safety risks to the local community. This would be a poor outcome for everyone, and we seek the community’s support in expediting the proposed demolition by accepting the heritage listing.”