A lease over the historic Boatshed 27 at Lake Wendouree – also known as Gill’s Boatshed – will be taken over by the Boatshed Restaurant owners Stephen and Jennifer Bryant.
The Bryants were formerly the boatshed’s sub-tenant, with the Golden City Paddle Steamer Museum as the head tenant.
Under the Ballarat City Council leasing agreement, $44,000 per year from the restaurant’s income was to be used to fund the paddle steamer’s rebuild, support the museum operations and ensure the restaurant was maintained.
However, due to several changes in both its committee and general operations, the Golden City Paddle Steamer Museum committee was not able to allocate the necessary funds to the restaurant maintenance and decided to surrender its tenancy.
Under a new lease arrangement, the Bryants will become the head tenant for the next five years and the museum will be the sub-tenants on a three-year agreement.
The council’s infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo said the new arrangement would give the council greater control of the asset and provide the restaurant owners with confidence to invest and grow the business.
However, at its Wednesday night council meeting several councillors expressed concern about the ongoing viability of the Golden City Paddle Steamer Museum. The Golden City Paddle Steamer Museum was contacted for this story but did not return calls by print.
In 1987, the Apex Club of Ballarat bought the Golden City Paddle Steamer, which was launched on Lake Wendouree in 1885, back from the Carribean Gardens lake in Melbourne.
The Golden City Paddle Steamer Museum committee was formed in 1988 as a non-profit, community-based organisation.
They also obtained the lease of the historic Gill’s Boatshed and the steamer was partially restored and began carrying passengers around the lake. The Boatshed Restaurant was built in 1997, with the museum opening in 1998.