Plans for old high school hit obstacle

A new master plan proposes a range of uses for the former Colac High School, closed since 2009.

Plans for the former Colac High School, closed since 2009, have run into a road block

COLAC Otway Shire Council has hit a road block in its plans to redevelop the former Colac High School site.

Submissions to a draft Colac High School master plan have closed but the council has removed the masterplan documents from its website because it is unsure how much of the high school site the State Government plans to give the council.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is the site’s “nominal owner”.

“The master plan documents were removed from the website because there seems to be a question about how much land the State Government is prepared to hand over to the community,” council chief Rob Small said.

“Our local Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder is organising a meeting between the council and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development so we can clarify this issue,” he said.

The high school site has fallen into disrepair since the school closed in 2009.

The DEECD would have transferred the site to Treasury to sell, but instead agreed to go through a $60,000 master plan process, which comprised $30,000 from the Department of Planning and Community Development, $15,000 from the DEECD and $15,000 from the council.

Colac residents paid 1500 pounds to establish the school more than 100 years ago.

The master plan said the council expected the government to donate two-thirds of the land, or 5.6 hectares, to the council for community uses.

But Mr Small said he hoped the government could return the whole site to the community.

“We are keen to see the entire site given back to the community,” he said.

A spokesman for the DEECD failed to say how much land the council would receive.

“The department continues to work with the council to explore future uses for the site, and is awaiting further discussions on the contents of the draft master plan for the former Colac High School site,” the spokesman said.

Mr Small said the council would continue to accept submissions on the draft master plan, despite the deadline for submissions passing.

The report said feasible options for the site included Otway Community College or St Laurence, affordable housing, aged accommodation, younger years hub including a kindergarten, community hub, casual hall use, historical precinct, farmer’s market, café, open space, emergency services hub and Merv Brunt’s truck museum.

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