CITY of Greater Bendigo councillors have been briefed ahead of Wednesday's council meeting about a new proposal for the historic Fortuna Villa site.
The proposal, by former mayor Daryl McClure and Goldmines Hotel owner Rick Walduck, suggests the formation of a Fortuna Commission.
The group would be appointed by the state Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan and oversee 40 residences developed on the property, near barracks constructed in the 1960s to serve the army.
A further 200 lots will be built on 14 hectares of surrounding Crown Land near Chum Street.
The rates from the properties will be donated by the council to the Fortuna Commission fund for 10 years.
Mr McClure said the capital raised by the project, estimated to be about $32 million, would then be invested to maintain the 1860s estate for the public.
He said all three forms of government must work collaboratively to ensure the Villa was restored with minimal cost to the public.
The three-storey, 60-room mansion was for sale by tender by the Department of Defence but failed to sell in January.
Mr McClure said the proposal received a “good reception” from the council and the next step would be to further develop the proposal to take to the state and federal governments .
“The councillors gave every indication that they are very keen to proceed with this plan,” he said.
“One would hope local members for parliament take it to state and federal governments.
“It’s very exciting.”
Bendigo council have been asked to write to the Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Premier and Deputy Premier seeking their support to reignite talks about the future of the historic site.
It's believed the Department of Defence is looking to auction Fortuna Villa in May.