THE Villa Fortuna Action Group is largely supportive of a proposal to maintain the 1860s estate, but only if new properties suggested in the plan are developed in a sensitive manner.
The action group’s Merle Hall said she would attend tonight’s council meeting to see how the proposal – which suggests 20 residences be built on the southern part of the site near the army barracks – was received by councillors.
She said while the group aimed to preserve the whole site without having new properties built on it, the new proposal was a step in the right direction.
“It’s bringing things into the public notice, which is the good thing,” she said.
“Very careful development that leaves enough of the site available for extensive community use would be acceptable. But the development would need to be sensitive and not compromise the use of the property.
“It has huge value as an attraction, as a place for the community, and as a place to show the importance of gold to Bendigo, Victoria and Australia.”
Bendigo Historical Society president Jim Evans is also pleased Fortuna is back on the council agenda.
“I think the plan put forward by Daryl McClure and Rick Walduck certainly has a lot of merit,” he said. “The important thing is that it stays in the hand of Bendigo people and is open to the public.
“If the new buildings don’t infringe too much on the garden area or lake, or are too close to the villa, it shouldn’t be a major thing.”