Big turnout to protest police action
DARTMOOR residents want Victoria Police to face the full force of the law following the removal of the former police station and residence from the town.
A public meeting on the matter was held in Dartmoor on Saturday morning and was attended by 20 locals, or about 10 per cent of the population of the town.
It came after police, as reported in the Observer on June 14, removed the 127-year-old building in two stages from its site at the Wapling Ave police complex to a private property in Port Fairy.
The removal, which was done without obtaining a permit from Glenelg Shire Council or consulting the community, has angered locals, many of who fought to preserve the building about 15 years ago. The building was also subject to a heritage overlay.
Saturday’s meeting at the Dartmoor Museum was organised by owner and local historian Michael Greenham.
“The view was strongly voiced by the attendees that the breaking up of the complex does not enhance the reputation of the parties involved,” he said.
“The community mood is that it should have been consulted about the intent of Victoria Police to remove the building, given civil action had saved the historical police complex from demolition 15 years ago.
“Other options for the future of the building could have been discussed.
“Further, it was agreed all applicable sanctions and penalties should be enforced to help ensure proper public and private compliance with heritage and planning laws in future.”
Mr Greenham said a Glenelg Shire Council representative indicated to the meeting that the council had received professional advice that it would not be in the council’s or a court’s power to legally oblige or require the police to return the building to its original site.