THE iconic Lake Daylesford Boathouse Cafe will rise from the ashes.
The popular tourist attraction was gutted by fire in December last year and both tourists and Hepburn Shire residents have called for it to be rebuilt.
Their calls have been answered – Hepburn Shire Council recently approved draft plans for the rebuilding of the Boathouse Cafe.
Hepburn Shire mayor Bill McClenaghan said the finished product would look very similar to the original building. “A lot of people won’t spot the difference at all,” he said.
“They’ll go inside and think, ‘Oh, that’s been nicely done up.”
The cost of replacing the Boathouse Cafe is being covered by Hepburn Shire Council’s insurance.
Although the insurer will only replace like-for-like, Cr McClenaghan said there would be some improvements as a result of the latest building code requirements.
These include toilets inside the new building, a fully accessible building for all and improved environmental sustainability standards.
“Anybody in a wheelchair who’s been here before will notice the difference straight away,” Cr McClenaghan said.
“They’ll be able to go from the front to the back without bouncing down a step. I think people will be happy with it.”
Hepburn Shire Council’s property insurer will proceed with obtaining a building permit, appointing a builder and managing the construction process.
The next step for the council is to decide how to operate the facility.
It is likely that a public expression of interest process will start in the new financial year with people invited to submit their plans and proposals to Hepburn Shire Council.
“People haven’t said a lot to me but a lot of people are aware that it’s closed, they’re aware that it’s not open and I’d say a lot of tourists would have come here and said, ‘Where is it?” Cr McClenaghan said.
“But we want to construct a single-level boathouse that doesn’t have any disability access issues.”
In the days that followed the fire that destroyed the Boathouse Cafe, people gathered at the site to take in the rubble where the Daylesford icon once stood.
Many people were devastated the boathouse had been destroyed and said they were hopeful it would be rebuilt.
Daylesford resident Virginia Langsford was walking her dog Wally at Lake Daylesford on Wednesday and was happy to hear news of the rebuild.
“It used to look so pretty but it’s an eyesore now,” she said.