THE Mount Alexander Shire council will ask the community for feedback on extending Bendigo TAFE's lease of classrooms in Castlemaine.
Councillors voted on Tuesday to publicly advertise the potential agreement and consider submissions from the public.
TAFE would sign a least to the end of 2021, at least, rather than the month-by-month plan it is currently on.
Councillor Bronwen Machin said it would give the TAFE the security to plan courses over the next two years.
She said the TAFE would find it useful at a time when higher education providers were considering how best to help people retrain.
"At this time, it's hard to work out what you are going to do with any courses, at any time," she said.
"But at least they don't have that worry of 'are we going to be kicked out with a month's notice?'"
Shire officers have previously warned councillors many people had been made redundant in the COVID-19 pandemic's fallout and could need to go back to classrooms to get new jobs.
"If training and support is not readily available in the Shire, these people could be particularly disadvantaged," the officers said in a report circulated before Tuesday's meeting.
"This is about providing opportunities for our own residents ... and some certainty for us in terms of rental income. I will be interested to see what people say and whether there's any holes to be picked in those arguments."
Both the TAFE and the council have been in periodic discussions for a year and both would like to see any long-term agreement finalised.
More on Bendigo TAFE during the coronavirus:
Shire officers warned councillors that it could be hard for the TAFE to find other commercial spaces, should the longer tenancy be knocked back.
The building could be used by community groups, they said.
The officers said that would offer a "very low economic return".
"Council officers are periodically approached by community groups who are looking for low cost space to occupy, at this time there have not been any approaches by other potential commercial tenants for this building."
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