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Five Port of Echuca buildings for lease

Five Port of Echuca buildings will be available shortly as Campaspe Shire starts searching for new tenants.

TRENT HORNEMAN June 27, 2014 3:58am

Oscar W’ building and former port gift shop.


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Five Port of Echuca buildings will be up for grabs shortly as Campaspe Shire begins its search for new tenants.

The Oscar W’s building and gift shop, the former blacksmith’s shop, Sharps Movie House and Penny Arcade, Kotta Station and Strathmerton Station will be up for tender.

Campaspe Shire will soon begin looking for an independent property agency to manage the tender process.

The decision came on the back of the Port of Echuca Precinct Strategic Advisory Committee delivering its first report to council, expressing its desire for business mix in the precinct.

Oscar W’s owners Dean and Renee Oberin agreed to end their lease with the shire early on July 31 and since then community interest about what would replace the iconic wharfside restaurant has been strong.

Mayor Ian Maddison said the port committee was adamant a restaurant or cafe should be in the building, as part of its wide-ranging review into businesses in the precinct.

Cr Maddison said there was widespread interest from the business community about a suitable replacement for Oscar W’s.

‘‘There has been a lot of talk, but talk is cheap. It will be hard to find someone with the skills and business capacity to run a business to the magnitude of this,’’ he said.

‘‘We are happy with the independent process that we will put in place.’’

Sharps Movie House and Penny Arcade, part of the former Shackell Bonds Store, is nearing the end of its lease and will be open for tender as part of Local Government Act guidelines.

PEPSAC chairman Peter Williams delivered the report to councillors at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The committee wants to see businesses that would strengthen heritage values, strengthen the Port of Echuca story, attract visitors and enhance the visitor experience in the precinct.

PEPSAC also wanted businesses that were commercially viable, added diversity, would appeal to locals and visitors and would operate seven days a week.

The committee expressed a desire to see skills return to the port, combined with a retail element.

Cr Maddison said the community had made it clear that a diverse range of businesses were needed in the Port of Echuca.

The call for new businesses comes about six months after the shire opened its Port of Echuca Discovery Centre, which completed a $14 million redevelopment of the precinct.

The shire was criticised during the redevelopment for allowing several attractions to leave the port.

The Customs House, at the corner of Murray Esplanade and Leslie St, will remain in the hands of Echuca Moama Arts Initiative for the time being.

EMAI’s Anne Mawson spoke to council at a budget submission hearing on Monday night and said a six-month lease had lapsed and the group wanted a two-year lease to give it security.

Cr Maddison said while the group was doing well using the building as an art space, it was a valuable commercial opportunity for the shire in the precinct.

Resources Manager Allan Cochrane said the agreement with EMAI was still in place and would not be amended, with council to consider its future separately.

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