CASTLEMAINE residents are angry by a council decision to sell the Old Castlemaine Gaol to a private consortium.
Mount Alexander Shire this week voted to sell the heritage-listed site to a consortium for $550,000 after a marathon five-hour council meeting.
The decision was met with strong opposition from a number of community members, especially the Friends of the Old Castlemaine Gaol.
The group had been fighting the sale of the building for months, pushing for it to be turned into a community-run space, rather than an unconditional private development.
Spokesperson for Friends of the Old Castlemaine Gaol Doug Falconer said there was disappointment that the council went against a “groundswell of community opposition”.
He said it was a major hurdle in preventing the development, but there were still legal options that were possible.
“It’s a big battle lost, but I don’t think it is the war lost just yet,” said Mr Falconer.
“We would be taking the same position if they sold it for $20 million. It should be used for arts and heritage to represent our town properly.”
Mount Alexander mayor Janet Cropley said council was happy with the sale price and said all redevelopments would have to fall in line with heritage Victoria requirements.
Once the council signs the contract, there will be a settlement period of 90 days.