The Neighbourhood Project leaders meet with DELWP to discuss future use of Golden Square building


Skaters forbidden from using a derelict Bendigo building have met with the state's planning department, putting in place a process that will see them return to the hangout space.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning last month asked members of The Neighbourhood Project to vacate the otherwise abandoned Bendigo State Government Battery building on the corner of Porter and Belle Vue streets in Golden Square.   

Tyler Wilkinson, who was one of three Neighbourhood leaders to meet with DELWP staff on Tuesday night, described the meeting as congenial.

"We kind of just got them on the same page," he said. 

"They seemed to be working with us, rather than against us."

Mr Wilkinson said the next step for the young people's project was to apply for the right to occupy the building and organise council workers to assess its structural integrity. 

DELWP will then complete some works, including patching the roof, levelling the floor and removing walls, he said. 

The Neighbourhood Project mentor and council candidate Thomas Prince, who was also at Tuesday night's meeting, welcomed the department’s cooperation but hoped it would contribute more.   

"We’re hoping they’ll assist us in areas that are currently beyond their responsibility, and that will be a part of later conversations," he said.

Providing fire extinguishers and securing entry points to the building were among tasks he mooted for discussion.   

He also said the cost of fixing, connecting and paying for water and electricity would fall to the young people who use the space. 

DELWP were contacted for comment. 

In the meantime, The Neighbourhood Project members will call on their community to contribute to the space’s regeneration.  

Mr Wilkinson said planning, plumbing and construction skills will be needed to transform the abandoned building into a inhabitable space.  

The initiative would also benefit from the involvement of someone experienced in writing grant applications, he said.  

But regenerating the space was part of the project's appeal. 

"We're trying to keep it as a community DIY,” he said. 

“It's about building it and skating it, rather than just having an indoor skate park.”

The Neighbourhood has won the support of almost 2000 Bendigo Advertiser readers who voted in an online poll since the site’s closure.  

Just 195 – or 9 per cent – of voters said they did not believe the skaters should be permitted to use the abandoned building. 

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