Shire or Murray councillors have taken steps to allow the old Pinjarra Court House to become a new arts and culture hub, after it has been left dormant for years.
The iconic building located on South Western Highway was an important building in the history of the small town, located about 20 kilometres from Mandurah.
To celebrate and share its historic significance, a report was presented to councillors at their February meeting to consider its future.
The report authored by chief executive officer Dean Unsworth outlined several recommendations that would directly affect the building’s future use, all of which councillors endorsed unanimously.
He recommended that council open an expression of interest process to get an understanding of the building’s potential.
Built in 1935, the centrally-located structure ceased to be used as a court house in 2003.
In 2005 the then state government allocated $200,000 to refurbish the building and in 2006 the ownership was transferred to the National Trust of WA.
One of Mr Unsworth’s recommendations included councillors authorising negotiations between the shire and the National Trust on the terms of the lease.
Mr Unsworth’s negotiations will also include discussing if a company, organisation or individual would provide a viable business option for the space and if the lease would be brought back to council for endorsement.
Lastly he proposed that council allow him to work with any potential operator to develop a business concept, and for those plans to be brought back to council for consideration.
Councillors agreed that the space could be better utilised and had potential to be a tourist attraction for visitors to the region.
Mr Unsworth said the opportunity to activate the courthouse and the surrounding area aligned with the Pinjarra Revitalisation Strategy and the pursuit of increased economic outcomes for the shire.
He said any community or commercial option could uncover an opportunity that benefited the economic strength of Pinjarra.
The Pinjarra Revitalisation Strategy sets out a series of concepts to consolidation retail and commercial activity within the town’s central area, with particular focus on the Edenvale Homestead.
The report outlined that the courthouse would be an important component within that heritage and arts precinct.