Clock ticking on demolition plan for historic cottage

FOR years the future of a significant piece of Freshwater history has hung in the balance as developers looked to bulldoze the 100-year-old Moule Cottage to build a unit block.

But time is running out to save the Kamerunga Rd property after landowners applied to demolish the building late last year.

In 2015 Cairns Regional Council granted conditional approval for developers Bluewater Builders to erect seven three-bedroom units.

 

Brothers (from left) Charlie, Neville and Edgar Moule, pictured in 2009 on the steps of Moule Cottage at the opening of the Freshwater Heritage Trail.
Brothers (from left) Charlie, Neville and Edgar Moule, pictured in 2009 on the steps of Moule Cottage at the opening of the Freshwater Heritage Trail.

An application for a four-year extension to the construction window was made last year but the council only granted a one-year extension, which is due to expire in September.

A permit to demolish the cottage was made to the council in December last year but changes to the planning scheme in 2016 affording better protection of heritage buildings created an extra hurdle for new developers Fineline Constructions.

Stratford and Freshwater Community Association president Liz Taylor is leading the push to save the classic Kamerunga Rd cottage.

"That shows a change in the council's planning policy position for heritage buildings. To make them impact-assessable provides a greater level of protection plus it allows the community to have their say in the proposed demolition," she said.

 

An artist impression for the units planned for 233 Kamerunga Rd in Freshwater.
An artist impression for the units planned for 233 Kamerunga Rd in Freshwater.

"And that's what the community can comment on at the moment."

Given the size of the 1000 sqm block on Kamerunga Rd, Ms Taylor believes there is room for a unit block to coexist alongside the cottage.

"The little house sits right at the front, so there is an opportunity, that the landowner has not looked into, to protect the building and do something new on the other parts of the site," she said.

"There is lots of options to save the building, which is what required under the planning scheme."

 

Charlie and Neville Moule, pictured cira 1935 at Moule Cottage.
Charlie and Neville Moule, pictured cira 1935 at Moule Cottage.

A town planner by trade, Ms Taylor thought the early 20th century-era Moule Cottage was a piece of history that deserved preserving.

"It's a lovely building, it has lovely Queensland architecture elements and features. It sits nicely on its block and addresses the street. It's well sited to facilitated upgrading and other developments," she said.

"This site was purchased with a heritage building on it, it's not a surprise that it's there."

 

Stratford and Freshwater Community Association President Liz Taylor and Friends of Freshwater members Graham Warden and Angela Murphy are fighting to save the historic cottage from demolition. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Stratford and Freshwater Community Association President Liz Taylor and Friends of Freshwater members Graham Warden and Angela Murphy are fighting to save the historic cottage from demolition. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Fineline Constructions owner Myles Moody said every effort had been made to save the cottage but thought it not economically viable.

"I spent $20k and got a heritage consultant. He deemed, with all the work (needed) to bring it up to standard, it would lose its heritage value," he said.

Mr Moody made assurances the approved 2015 application wouldn't be built at the site.

"If I am to do it, I will build something that complements the surrounding area of Freshwater," he said.

"The money that's needed (to save the cottage) it's just not financially viable."

Mr Moody said the cottage is a haunt of illicit drug users which was not an ideal situation given the childcare centre next door.

"This future development will help the economy when it's much needed," he said.

Mr Moody said plans for the site were still being finalised but he made assurances it would not be a three storey building.

To have your say on the demolition of Moule Cottage visit council's website and make a submission before July 24.

 

 

Originally published as Clock ticking on demolition plan for historic cottage



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