The Colac community can celebrate a “win”, with the State Government confirming it will give part of the former Colac High School site to Colac Otway Shire Council.
The council requested the government give about 30 per cent of the 8.4-hectare site to the council for community open space.
The council had specified in a letter to the government in 2014 that it wanted the northern end of the site, to avoid dealing with old buildings and the expense of maintaining them or expense of asbestos removal.
The formal request from the council followed a previous demand that the Education Department consider the Colac community’s right to reclaim the site.
The council had sent documents to the department which verified that the community had a legitimate claim on the site because ratepayers originally bought the land to give to the government for a school.
Former mayor Lyn Russell had vowed to keep fighting for the former school site because the department had a “moral and ethical responsibility to give it back to the community who paid for it”.
The department had disagreed that it should hand over the entire site, stating it was a state asset.
But a department spokesman said this week that the department had agreed with the council “that part of the site will be set aside for community use as part of the rezoning process”.
For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.