- RELATED: Plans released for Dimboola pub site
DIMBOOLA residents and businesses have backed plans to turn the vacant former Dimboola Hotel site into a function centre and restaurant.
Resident and business owner Mary Clarke has worked with Graeme Schneider to develop a business plan for the town.
Mr Schneider bought the hotel in 2014, after the court ordered the previous owner to demolish the fire-ravaged building in the town’s main street.
Ms Clarke and Mr Schneider released the Dimboola Social Enterprise Plan in early July, which outlined plans to develop the hotel site and initial investigations into the project.
A formal community consultation process followed during the past month.
Ms Clarke said people in the town supported the proposal wholeheartedly.
“There is general support across the board, absolutely, and we are really pleased,” she said.
“That said, any community member would want to see something on that property, so I wasn't anticipating a lot of negative feedback.
“We are now asking community members to send in formal letters of approval to Hindmarsh Shire Council, so the project can form part of council’s strategic plan for the next few years.”
An initial project timeline estimates the restaurant and function centre could be open by September 2019, subject to funding.
Ms Clark said a working party would be formed to spearhead the project.
“We are putting our not-for-profit group together, and we need to establish our name and so forth,” she said.
“We've invited a number of people to join the board and are in the process of finalising that.
“Once that is complete we will start the process of putting together a proper funding document, and will approach government, philanthropic organisations and anyone who wants to be part of the project.”
Ms Clarke said the scope of the project and required funding meant work would be completed in stages.
“It might take a bit longer than we hope but who knows – something could happen and it could be up and running by 2019,” she said.
“But it's all to do with the funding.
“We have been in contact with the government, including speaking to Member for Mallee Andrew Broad.
“We have sent all our information to Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford, and we'll be meeting with her in the near future.
“We have also sent information to Member for Lowan Emma Kealy and will be catching up with her also.
“We are working all the time to keep various levels of government aware of our intentions in case any funding becomes available that we might be eligible for.”