Contact Person Nick Jarvis

Willow Court- New lease of life for Bronte


I have been thinking about this for a number of days and thought now is about the right time to put my thoughts forward.

I get what the DVC are doing with regards to the $9, 9 year peppercorn  lease of Bronte which will see it become the new Derwent Valley Community House.

I see the said benefits that it will bring to Bronte such as a full time tenant which in turn will bolster the physical presence on site and security.  The lease will also allow the continued restoration of Bronte as DHHS has agreed to finish off the other half of Bronte that requires further restoration due to lack of funds.

Its hard for me to see any part of Willow Court becoming anything but a World Class Tourist facility. But I need to remind myself of the longer term goal, and how this lease will assist in making that vision happen.

I was reading Cr Bester blog the other day, and agree with what he said with regards to finding a way to accommodate the Community House alongside the original proposal for visitor services in the same building. Cr Bester states “The latest proposals do not do that and I do not believe it is acceptable for a single room in Bronte House to serve as both the official entrance to Willow Court and the dining room of the Community House.”**


A concerning point was raised by Cr Bester in his blog which I hope is resolved, otherwise this could be a rather pointless exercise. Cr Bester States “The latest draft of the lease agreement, endorsed by the vote of 6-1 last Thursday night, provides the Community House with a nine-year lease for $1 per year, with no stipulation that a specific amount must be spent on essential renovations to the building in return for the peppercorn rent.”

To read Cr Bester Blog in full follow the link:

Below is also a statement from Deputy Mayor Ben Shaw on his facebook page on the mattter.

My Statement responding to criticism over the lease of a small part of Willow Court. (Bronte) The below is copy and paste from another FB page where councillors are being criticised for making a decision.
Please take this as a statement from me personally as one of the councillors who voted “For” this decision. Obviously I can not speak for the other councillors about how they reached their decision but this is an insight into my thinking and why I voted in favour. Security onsite- council has recently expended $2m on restoration work (let me tell you that doesn’t buy a lot) this work is close to being finished and handed back to council, with no real option for occupancy on the table, how long would it be before vandals destroy and waste this current work done? Community house provides a full time tenant and a presence onsite. Continued restoration work and upgrades – While this is a peppercorn lease, once agreed to DHHHS have agreed to finish off the half of Bronte building that community house will occupy, a part that will otherwise be inhabitable until much more funding can be found, (as the funding is now expended)….. I have not seen a proposal for any other use on this site at this stage since I have been a councillor!! Most of the criticism I hear surrounding willow court is that it has sat there for 15 years being an eye sore and a burden on rate payers.?? we now have a usage and to me if it works out and its a great decision then great, if it doesn’t work out ? what have we lost ? we’ve gained some upgraded buildings we’ve given a home to great community organization.. and to me a the end of the day I can live with myself for actually making a decision… I haven’t seen a decisive decision made on that site in 15 YEARS. so I am happy to live with at least making a decision…. I will not get into a face book conversation over this post as I’ve made this statement, if anyone wishes to speak to me directy and in person over this statement then feel free to contact me and make a time to catch up?? as it is all so easy to sit on here and critique and be a key board warrior at home, so if you really care that much for the site and wish to discuss my views on this further I am more than happy, but it will be in person! thank you and i hope this helps.