Space scarce for large plant and trucks

AREAS were not available for Collie businesses to park trucks and other large equipment, the trio behind the industrial museum concept warned Collie Shire Council four years ago.

The mill site “is a valuable piece of land” and “the Timber Mill Industrial Partners” were not a benevolent fund, David Churches said in a lengthy memo to Collie Shire president Wayne Sanford in May 2008.

The trio saw the opportunity to combine the town’s heritage interests with their commercial interests.

“We see the opportunity for our businesses to ease the shortage of space that is hampering development," Mr Churches wrote.

“Large lay-down areas, room to move large plant and trucks are not available in Collie and even after the LIA land release, this situation will not change.

“We see the opportunity to create a very significant timber, coal mining and railway museum.”

The group feared that “without a caretaker, security fencing and the money to not only fund the maintenance of the site but pay for insurance, power, telephone, etc, the mill would end up burnt to the ground and further theft and vandalisation of the loco and mining machines would mark this a disaster”.

He warned: “Council also needs to avoid the situation where, after obtaining the vesting of the land, the result is just another expense for ratepayers supporting a project that will never be self-funding and the only activity is deterioration.”

He also wrote: “Some people have questioned the idea of industrial activity occurring adjacent to a museum.

“May I remind them that coal mining, railways and timber mills are all industrial activity. The creation of, maintenance and growth of an industrial museum could not be better placed.”

Now the Timber Mill Industrial Partners are giving up the struggle, they did not know who else would have the funds to preserve the heritage part of the site, Mr Churches said this week.