COUNCILLORS should vote to keep a grape vine but not the verandah of a historic Inglewood hotel on Tuesday.
That's according to a Loddon Shire officer report on the best way to deal with the Royal Hotel's dangerous, run-down verandah.
The verandah has been closed off over safety concerns and owners want to knock it down.
The vine is "of significance for its scientific, horticultural and social value due to its age", the report has found.
The verandah itself would be too expensive to replace right now, a heritage advisor the shire contacted for an independent assessment said.
"The cost of replacement is high and most likely beyond the means of the owner at the present time particularly with regard to the current coronavirus public use restrictions that have been in place during 2020 and beyond," she said.
"Despite appearances to the contrary, often the structural timber members are inadequate [and] do not comply with current building regulations and safety codes."
The advisor was concerned that trucks passed so close to the verandah as they drove down the Calder Highway.
She feared it could compound structural problems, though she noted engineering assessments had been limited so far.
The advisor recommended several historical elements be kept including some posts up to two metres high, which would support a trellis system for the vine.
She was concerned about the health of the vine and recommended both that it be professionally cared for and that cuttings be taken in case of death.
The council should also help all commercial property owners with vines in Brooke Street, given the area's historical significance, the advisor said.
The Royal Hotel was built in 1863/4 off of designs by Bendigo architects William Vahland and Robert Getzschmann.
The building has been used as everything from a masonic hall to a theatre and a bowling alley
It was originally built without a verandah but one was added shortly afterwards. The current two-storey verandah was completed in the 1930s.
Shire officers recommended demolition works go ahead as long as details were recorded about the verandah. That way, it could be rebuilt at a later date if someone had the money to do so.
They also said a condition report on the masonry of the building was needed.
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