THE closure of a Maryborough gallery has sparked heated discussion after the building was declared a fire hazard.
The Flour Mill Gallery - showcasing Australia's largest public display of sewing machines - was forced to close on Saturday after it was found to be non-compliant with fire safety regulations.
Gallery manager Wayne McKail said it was a disappointing result. He said he was told by the Central Goldfields Shire last Thursday he had 48 hours to shut.
"It's amazing that it has come to this," he said. "Suddenly we have to close. We were trying to do the right thing."
Mr McKail said he was aware there were insufficient fire safety features inside the 1881 building but said his requests for upgrades were ignored by the landlord.
"The problems we’ve got now are the same as when we opened up three years ago," he said.
"We have raised it multiple times. I personally think if something was worked on 18 months ago, this whole thing might not have had such severe repercussions."
Landlord Charlie Bovalino told the Bendigo Advertiser he had not been consulted on the looming problems.
He said the building had always been a high fire risk but it was the use of the space by the current tenant that had breached compliance laws.
"I've been blindsided on this," he said.
"The tenant hasn’t corresponded with me in regard to fire safety. As far as I was concerned it was compliant. It was only last Thursday that I found out what had happened."
Mr Bovalino said he would arrange for an inspection of the building this week.
He said he was hopeful the issues could be resolved and the gallery could re-open.
"It would be a terrible thing to see the building closed. If it's viable I would like to see it fixed... But it could have been done a lot easier than this."
Mr McKail said he was optimistic about re-opening but said he was taking the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.