SAVING FACE: Richmond River Historical Societys Marelle Lee, with Jane Gardiner in front of the art deco era Rous Hotel in Bal
SAVING FACE: Richmond River Historical Societys Marelle Lee, with Jane Gardiner in front of the art deco era Rous Hotel in Bal

Final call for Ballina pub's facade

By Luke Prendergast

JANE Gardiner wants to save the art deco exterior of the Henry Rous Tavern in Ballina, but she may be too late.

Ms Gardiner, who has previously consulted with other municipal councils on heritage issues, believes the tavern has cultural and historical significance and should be preserved for future generations.

But Ballina Shire Council has before it a development application to demolish the 1936-built hotel and replace it with a modern new building.

"I want them to re-use the building; to keep at least this front facade," Ms Gardiner said.

"It tells the story of the growth of Ballina, like the court house and the old bank building.

"I really want the public to know. It is part of the Ballina story."

Council's regulatory services group manager Rod Willis said council received a development application in April to demolish the existing hotel and build a new one.

Made by Hallow Design Services, of South West Rocks, on behalf of Mr S.G. McEvoy, the application is currently being finalised for determination in the next fortnight.

Mr Willis was unaware that any objections had been lodged with council.

"In regard to the heritage question, while the building as a whole is not heritage under council's heritage plan, it is a building that has been identified for a study that council is still doing for heritage value," he said.

The applicants included two expert heritage reports in favour of their application.

The reports said the tavern had elements of heritage value but these could not be 'practically and reasonably accommodated in the adaptive re-use of the building'.

"The building has been substantially changed since 1936," Mr Willis said.

He said a condition of council's approval of the development application was that the new hotel incorporate an educational facility showing the history of the site, including previous hotels occupying the site prior to 1936. The new building must also have a raised ground floor to meet flood protection standards.



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