WHAT now for Fortuna?
News the Department of Defence failed to sell the historic gem was not what this community wanted to hear for there was genuine hope Fortuna would find a new owner this time around.
It’s encouraging nine tenders were submitted but disappointing six failed to meet requirements and three weren’t even opened after missing the submission deadline.
In the end hope has given way to déjà vu... the Department of Defence is left with a hefty maintenance bill and the community continues to ponder what will become of this grand mansion.
Money is the biggest issue for Fortuna. No one disputes it’s a majestic building that in a perfect world would be available to the community both as a tourist attraction and general use facility.
But that’s going to cost money and even if Fortuna was purchased for a “fire sale” price, the funds needed to restore and maintain the mansion would be considerable.
So the community desperately needs a white knight. Someone with the finances to purchase and fix Fortuna and then hand it back to the people.
It appears the state government has no interest in such a role and financially it’s out of reach of the City of Greater Bendigo.
So we need someone or a group of someones with a great passion for this city or history and excited by such an amazing undertaking.
The alternative is for a private buyer to grab Fortuna. Yes, the mansion would be lost to the community but at least it would be preserved.
One suspects there’s a few more chapters in the Fortuna story yet.
The community must live in hope the final one is a happy ending for all concerned.