|Cr Martyn Evans addressing tonight’s meeting.|
THE rum distillery proposed for Willow Court has been given conditional approval at tonight’s special meeting of the Derwent Valley Council.
After two councillors declared conflicts of interest and left the room, the remaining five councillors gave unanimous approval to the first stage of the New Norfolk Distillery project.
The council was one member short owing to Cr Paul Belcher being on leave, but there were still enough members present to hear the application after Crs Anne Salt and Rachel Power left the room. The matter was dealt with in four minutes, with Cr Marytn Evans moving the acceptance of the council planner’s recommendation, seconded by Cr Jessica Cosgrove, and after a short discussion it was carried without dissent.
A spokesman for the developers said a public statement on the decision would be made tomorrow. In a staged development, the council-owned former hospital ward Alonnah House will be converted into a distillery, tasting bar and sales area. The $70,000 first stage will see a 300L still installed in the northern corner of the building.
The council was to have considered the application at its monthly meeting on May 16 but the absence of two councillors, and two declaring conflicts of interest in the proposal, saw that meeting temporarily without the numbers necessary to proceed. The council was subsequently granted a two-week extension by the developers, resulting in the application going before the special meeting tonight.
|The area shaded in pink is proposed to be the
first stage of the distillery project.
Opening the discussion at tonight’s meeting, Cr Martyn Evans said it had been an interesting journey to get the application to where it is. “Lots of discussion and lots of community consultation has taken place by the proponent,” he said. “The planner has done a great deal of work and I commend them for that. I will be supporting this application.”
|The meeting attracted a big audience in the public gallery.|
Closing the discussion, Cr Evans thanked his colleagues for their comments and said they had obviously read the documents quite thoroughly.
Mayor Ben Shaw then put the matter to the vote and it was carried unanimously, followed by a round of applause from the public gallery.
The 1960s building is one of the youngest on the site, which served as a hospital from 1827 until 2000. New Norfolk-based aged care provider Corumbene last week lodged a development application for a $5 million redevelopment of two other buildings at Willow Court, which is expected to go to next month’s council meeting.
In her report to tonight’s council meeting, planning officer Linda Graham noted that during the period of public comment on the distillery project, 54 objections had been received and 31 letters of support.