Grand old building in need of some love

DISAPPOINTED: Deputy Mayor Andrew Guile wants to see something done about the old Berry council chamber, which marks its 100th birthday this year.WHILE Shoalhaven City Council has plans to restore the old Berry Council Chambers, unfortunately it will not be completed in time for its birthday.The Berry Council Chambers (BCC) will mark its 100th birthday later this year and in 2013, the Berry Show Society will celebrate its 125th Show.However the building is suffering from root damage, damp problems, cracking and general disrepair.Deputy Mayor Andrew Guile has criticised Shoalhaven City Council for not living up to its responsibility to protect heritage assets in Berry, including the original Berry Council Chambers.He believed milestones should require this prominent building to be restored to an acceptable state.Cr Guile was dismayed to realise reports completed in 2010 on the original Berry Council Chambers and the Berry School of Arts have not been reported or acted upon.“To be frank, I’m appalled at the state of these buildings and amazed that staff have never brought these reports to the elected council to show us the extent of works required so that something could be done,” he said.Shoalhaven City Council infrastructure planning manager Martin Upitis said the structural report on the BCC was commissioned as there were concerns about the cracking of brickwork which had been evident for many years.Mr Upitis said that although the report assessed one section of the building as being in poor condition, it did not recommend any immediate remedial action as the building was not unsafe.“Consequently, the report did not trigger any immediate action by council as any proposed works needed to be ranked against existing priorities of building repairs and available funding,” he said.Mr Upitis said there will be a staged approach to the restoration of the old BCC with works to strengthen the footings commencing this year.This will include assessing the need to remove the trees and the type of repairs to the building’s footings.Once the footings have been repaired their effectiveness will be monitored for a year or so to ensure they do not move.Only then can the brickwork and other fixtures be repaired, he said, and the whole process may take about two years.A full restoration is not planned by council in the short-term, but council staff are meeting with the showground management committee shortly to discuss its possible contribution to bring forward both repairs and restoration work.“If this comes to fruition, it would be another great example where community groups can bring forward works which council cannot presently fund,” said Mr Upitus.At the next ordinary council meeting, Mr Guile will be moving to for a full review of the state of heritage buildings for which council is responsible where they are below acceptable standards.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲培训学校.