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Council offers incentives to boost local heritage
22 January 2020
Fraser Coast Regional Council will introduce two new initiatives to encourage building owners to preserve and enhance the region’s heritage and character.
Cr Daniel Sanderson said Fraser Coast Heritage and Character Incentive Scheme grants would be offered to owners of heritage and selected commercial character properties.
“This incentive scheme involves grants of up to $10,000 to conserve and enhance the heritage value and character of streetscapes across the region,” Cr Sanderson said.
“The scheme will apply to more properties, not just those in the Maryborough CBD. It will also encourage larger, more significant works than our previous schemes.
“Building owners will be able to apply for $1 from Council for every $2 they spend on a project, up to a maximum of $10,000.
“Special consideration may be given for exemplary projects that demonstrate a significant contribution to the Fraser Coast region’s heritage and character.
“The scheme will cover works such as conservation or restoration projects, painting, urgent remedial works, reversing unsympathetic alterations and preparing conservation management plans to support development applications.
“It will not cover routine maintenance work or additions or extensions. From previous enquiries, we anticipate applications will cover works such as external painting or re-roofing.
“Keeping water out of a building and protecting exterior from weathering are very important measures to conserve a building, and it also contributes positively and visibly to the streetscape.
“We believe that given the cost of some of the works, the co-contribution from Council will give owners an incentive to undertake conservation works and will contribute to revitalising our CBDs.”
Before the scheme starts in July, workshops will be held to outline the scheme to potential applicants. Applications can be lodged through the online Smartygrants grants portal.
Cr David Lewis said a new Heritage Advisory Service would also be offered to encourage building owners to conserve, restore, and protect their historic buildings and places.
“Eligible owners will be able to apply for a free heritage consultant advice, up to the value of $600 per site per year,” Cr Lewis said.
“The new policy replaces the rates concession policy and now includes character buildings and potential heritage and character places.
“The service, which is expected to start in July, will offer technical advice. Owners may want to modernise or undertake restoration works but are uncertain where to start or which consultants they should contact.
“By extending the service to character buildings, or prospective heritage places, we can reach more people to promote the importance of preserving our heritage, especially as buildings are renovated or sites are earmarked for development.
“By including character places, Council can support owners of buildings and places that contribute to the character of our region, especially character that does not neatly fit into the pre-ordained categories such as Victorian, Federation or Interwar.”
Cr Lewis said the Fraser Coast was steeped in history and everyone should do everything possible to preserve it.
The amount of funding available for the two new schemes will be determined as part of the 2020/21 Council budget.