TAMWORTH historians are certain there’s money to restore the West Tamworth train station.
Melinda Gill from the Tamworth historical society was surprised and relieved when councillors nixed a move to demolish the station on Tuesday night.
The bulldozers have been turned away and the historical society is confident the “money is there” to see the station reborn.
A report to council estimated it could cost up to $600,000 to fix the station.
“John Holland would have been give more than $600,000 to maintain the building, over the years,” Ms Gill said.
“It was going to cost $50,000 to demolish it.
“The money would have to be there to restore it, they’d be silly not use it.”
While she was confident the station would be restored, Ms Gill urged the community to get involved in shaping its future.
“We want this to be a community asset, not just the historical society’s or Tamworth Regional Council’s,” she said.
“We want the community to play a role in its future rather than a select few calling the shots.”
An online poll of The Leader’s readers found 58 per cent of respondents were in favour of saving the West Tamworth station.
Out of more than 600 voters, just 21 per cent said the station was past its use-by date.
Ms Gill said it would take a number of years to the get “the station where it needed to be”, but she’d like to see it become a museum.
Councillor Glenn Inglis doesn’t believe every example of history and heritage must be kept, but he said the station was relevant to the city’s development, which was why he opposed the demolition proposal.
He said it predated the city’s post office and electric street lighting, which are acknowledged landmarks in Tamworth.
He also said “inadequate consideration was given to council’s own heritage adviser’s report” on the station.
There was no concern ratepayers would get lumped with the cost of restoration, because it wasn’t council’s asset, Cr Inglis said.
“Who says it’s going to cost $600,000,” he said.
“It wouldn’t cost that much to do repairs, make it safe, watertight and preserve it, and there’s nothing to show it has been seriously looked at,” he said.
A John Holland Rail spokesperson said the future of the site would be assessed once the DA outcome was formally received.
“Transport for NSW is currently awaiting formal advice of the outcome of the Development Application from Tamworth Regional Council,” the spokesperson said.
“John Holland Rail will continue to ensure the area is safe whilst the future of the building is determined.”