FREE HOUSE: Owner will give away heritage building
THE OWNER of a century-old building about to be demolished says he will give it away, free, to anyone who wants to take it.
The owner, Clarence Valley businessman Harry Hayer, made the offer after Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting which approved a development application from Mr Hayer to demolish the building, despite its heritage status, and replace it with a boutique 12-unit motel development.
Deputy Mayor Cr Jason Kingsley was scathing in his assessment of the building.
"It's a dump," he told the meeting while speaking for its removal.
Cr Greg Clancy said he was concerned a house listed as historical could be allowed to deteriorate to the point where it was too costly to repair.
Cr Debrah Novak suggested the house could be moved because she believed it was important to preserve Grafton's heritage houses.
"I think it's remiss of us to not be custodians of this building," she said. "It sets the tone for other developers who demolish our old heritage buildings. I feel it could have been explored a little more."
Mr Hayer said he was prepared to let a new potential owner have the building for nothing.
"If someone wants to come and remove it to another site, all they have to do is contact me," he said.
He said it was remarkable how many people surfaced at the 11th hour who thought the building should be saved .
The story has hit a nerve for readers on the DEX Facebook page.
Lindy Webb said her experience restoring a run down building had been positivie.
"My husband and I bought a dump ten years ago. It had a preservation order on it," she wrote.
"We got it split in half and professional house movers transported it to our property.
"t was an eyesore, but at our own expense it has been lovingly restored to its former glory."
Other were sad to see it go to ruin.
Irene M Shinn said "It's such a shame nothing was done to fix it over the years,and for letting get to this stage is just sad."
Another, Christine Roberts, wondered if Mr Hayer could donate it to one of the musems so it can be restored.
Anyone interested in Mr Hayer's offer can contact him on 66421659.