AFTER decades of neglect, the Crago Mill is about to embark on a new journey.
The historic precinct dates back to 1906 and has sat derelict for the past 20 years.
However, an ambitious and visionary development application to turn the mill into a mecca for tourism anchored by a café and marketplace is about to come to fruition.
A development application to be considered at tomorrow’s ordinary monthly meeting of Bathurst Regional Council is expected to be given the green light, heralding a new era for mill in lower Piper Street.
With the go ahead already given for the café stage of the revamp, consideration will be given to stage two of the project which includes plans to use the premises for a retail market and cellar door as well as an extension of the café area.
Project manager Bernard Vance has put years of work into getting it to this stage.
“We’re finally set to open the café and that will happen in the next few weeks,” he said.
“At present we’re just putting the finishing touches on that, but it’s come up a treat.
“The DA for stage two goes to council on Wednesday and the recommendation is that approval be given for that.
“We’re looking at a regional produce market and a cellar door component with Winburndale Wines. There are some licensing issues, but we are envisaging it could become the home for all Bathurst vignerons.”
Mr Vance said he has had considerable expressions of interest from other parties to become involved in the mill’s future.
“Things like music schools, home brewing, cheese making, the arts – the possibilities are endless,” he said. “And down the track, there’s room for retail office space. There’s six levels to be made use of.
“You only have to walk inside the place now and you really do get that wow factor.
“This development really does make a statement of confidence in Bathurst’s future and already, in the initial stages, we’re well into a six-figure sum.”
According to the report to council on Crago Mill by director of environmental planning and building services David Shaw, approval for the café was given in March, 2012. His report states the proposal involves:
Use of the ground floor and mezzanine floors of the skillion annex as a retail market (selling local produce, gifts and furniture);
Use of a section of the ground floor of the skillion annex as a cellar door sales area; and
An extension to the seating area for the previously approved café on the ground floor.