‘Tear it down’: Ravenswood residents frustrated as Junction Hotel remains an 'eyesore' on the Calder Highway

As roadworks wind up on the Calder Highway, residents want something done with the remains of the Junction Hotel. Picture: NONI HYETT
As roadworks wind up on the Calder Highway, residents want something done with the remains of the Junction Hotel. Picture: NONI HYETT

RAVENSWOOD residents want the Junction Hotel torn down describing it as an “eyesore” and “degrading” for the area.

The pub was gutted by fire in June 2014, and has remained in its rundown state on a prominent part of the Calder Highway ever since.

Detectives confirmed the hotel is still owned by Jozef Jansen, who is currently serving a two-year non-parole period after he was found guilty of arson for gain.

During the court proceedings, it was revealed the Jansens had no assets apart from the hotel and must repay more than $300,000 to the Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency.

Shirley Draper, who runs the nearby Ravenswood Retreat with husband Bob, said the community was keen to see progress on the site.

“It’s such an eyesore, it’s degrading for the area,” she said.

“It’s a fire hazard as well.

“It doesn’t add any value for its neighbours. It couldn’t be done up in any way, there’s really only one way to deal with it.”

The value of the Junction Hotel has consistently fallen since it was sold for $250,000 in 2002. It was sold for $173,000 in 2005, then $152,000 in 2007.

The Jansens insured the hotel for $250,000, but failed to find a buyer before it was ultimately gutted by fire.

The City of Greater Bendigo has had “preliminary discussions” with VicRoads about the site, but is yet to speak with the owners.

Manager safe and healthy communities Caroline Grylls said there were limited options for development.

“Our focus is to ensure that any proposed development for the site is suitable and has the appropriate approvals,” she said.

“Given the limitations of the site, including lack of services and small size, development options would be limited.”

The sale of the hotel fell through in June 2014 – three days before the fire – after the buyer discovered a VicRoads overlay on the property that prevented substantial renovations.

A spokesperson for VicRoads said they had no control over the property and would be unlikely to play any part in negotiations over the site’s future.

The hotel sites alongside the works on the Ravenswood Interchange, near the intersection with the Calder Alternative.