Gulf Group's plans for Port Augusta Town Hall

HERITAGE: Gulf Group’s Jeevan Deut provided an update of his plans for the old Town Hall.
HERITAGE: Gulf Group’s Jeevan Deut provided an update of his plans for the old Town Hall.

Gulf Group’s Jeevan Deut has reiterated his concept of developing a new civic library at the old Court House as part of the masterplan for the Port Augusta Town Hall.

Mr Deut presented updates of his ideas for the heritage-listed structure at the Port Augusta City Council Meeting on Tuesday night, February 12.

The plans also included a seven-storey hotel, an art gallery and a collaborative workspace, as well as moving the cinema back to Commercial Road.

Mr Deut said Gulf Group has been "throwing lots of money" at the project, with hopes to have the collaborative workspace opened by August.

The space would be open to businesses to rent out offices and desks.

When quizzed on whether Port Augusta would need a new civic library, Mr Deut argued that the city is currently not getting the complete services of a modern-day library.

"A library is no longer just a place to borrow books," he said at the meeting. "It's a space to connect, educate and advance."

Mr Deut proposed for Council to seek government funding for the venture, which Gulf Group would then match dollar for dollar.

In time, Council would then have to pay lease fees or purchase the building. 

Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow commended Mr Deut on his plans for the historic building.

"I think he has got great ideas. He's a very adventurous young man and an entrepreneur," Mayor Benbow said.

"I take my hat off to him for putting together the presentation and trying to do things for our city.

"Now it’s up to the new Council to take on board what was presented and then work from there."

However, Mayor Benbow said Council would not be making its decision quickly, as it must first review its strategic and financial plans.

"The idea behind what he is trying to do is fantastic, but is it the right opportunity and the right time for this Council? I can’t confirm or deny where we sit at the moment," he said.

"We’ve done very well over the last term to structure our costings and finances.

"Our deficit is down, so we’re very cautious about where we go from here because we want to continue in that direction, but we also want to see our city improve."

In October 2018, the Port Augusta Boxing Club returned to the Town Hall after being turfed out three years earlier by state government.