Town Hall to be sold

Port Augusta Town Hall will go on the market next month.
Port Augusta Town Hall will go on the market next month.

The Mayor's desk will be removed today, and is the last of the building's contents to come out.

The discussion surrounding the condition of the town hall has been ongoing for more than 10 years.

Port Augusta City Council director of city and cultural services Lee Heron said she is not surprised by the government's decision to sell the building.

She said the town hall is structurally a problem due to asbestos and there was also substantial cracking in the walls due to movement of the original footing.

Restoration could prove costly with the structural issues and the heritage status of parts of the building.

Local member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the hall has been derelict and most of it has been unused for more than 30 years.

"Still, the State Government has dragged its feet for the last several years with regard to best future use of the area," he said.

Mrs Heron said many ideas have been put forward included keeping the facade and having the rest of the building purpose-built.

A study by the Port Augusta City Council and the SA Heritage Council also looked into opening up the area by linking the town hall to Gladstone Square with pedestrian access.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said he agrees with the notion of keeping the facade.

"That way the beautiful front would be refurbished and maintained as part of a modern new development - very important that the new development must include car parking," he said.

The concerned MP also said community groups should not have had to vacate as soon as they did.

Three groups were given a one-month notice to vacate the premises before the sale process would begin.

"I see no need for the groups currently using parts of the town hall and old fire station to have to leave before the land is sold for redevelopment," Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

"They do very good community work and their presence now would make no difference to a potential buyer's decisions."

The state government was approached but did not comment.