Twelve million dollar hotel: enhancement or faux-pas?

The Broken Hill City Council (BHCC) are currently assessing the development application for a 38 room, four-storey boutique hotel with a function centre at 207-213 Argent Street, Broken Hill.

The estimated cost of the project is $12,167,100.

The BHCC members and the Chairs of Business Far West New South Wales and Destination Country and Outback NSW reportedly all welcomed the proposal.

Agfair and the Mundi Mundi Bash highlighted the accommodation pressure that occurs in the City when large events happen and this proposed hotel will alleviate some of this pressure.

Broken Hill is transitioning from sole dependence on the mining industry to a reliance on more diversified industries such as tourism and renewable energy and adequate infrastructure is needed to support the revenue-raising tourism events in the region.

BHCC has provided the general public with the project’s development application on its website.

The proposed hotel will have a deep mansard roof that hides the fourth floor to align with the three-storey Argent Street height precedent.

The roof sits above a uniform two-storey masonry breezeblock wall made from terracotta-coloured material that covers the second and third storeys of

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the building on the Argent Street façade.

The permanent breezeblock wall meets a concave eyelash street awning over the footpath of Argent Street.

The building will have solar power, naturally ventilated circulation spaces and electric vehicle charging stations.

The hotel’s breezeblock wall will provide a visual separation between the internal occupants and the public and will be a lightwell that will add to the “Broken Hill by Night” streetscape lighting initiative.

BHCC representatives Tracy Stephens and Elizabeth Vines viewed the proposed development at a pre-lodgement meeting on 19 January 2022.

BHCC completed its preliminary assessment of the development application in May.

Pendergast Architects’ explained in their application that the preliminary stage was positive, and the recommended modifications were incorporated into the plans.

BHCC’s assessment will consider zoning permissibility, heritage, design, building code, parking provisions, and the social and economic need for the development, said a BHCC spokesperson.

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BHCC is awaiting further details about the project, and the proposal will be updated with these as they are received.

Owners of the surrounding properties will have three weeks to comment after being notified about the project.

Any submissions received will be considered by BHCC as part of the overall assessment, said the BHCC’s spokesperson.

The importance of these consultation stages and the input of local comment into the process is not to be underestimated.

Inadequate public comment in the planning phase of developments in other regions has led to faux-pas structures, such as the redevelopment of the Coogee Bay Surf Club and the Giant Owl Sculpture in Canberra.

The $3 million publicly funded renovation of Coogee Bay Surf Club was dubbed the giant microwave after construction, while the $400,000 Canberra

Owl by Melbourne sculptor Bruce Armstrong that measures 8 metres high has been likened to a giant phallus.

Community consultation is the way of avoiding that happening here.

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Broken Hill residents should consider the long-term heritage and aesthetic qualities of the development in relation to the streetscape of Argent Street and ask hard questions of the BHCC about the project while it is still at the planning stage.

Details about the development application can be found by searching the Development Application Tracker on the BHCC website.

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