INVESTIGATIONS are set to get underway as a first step to dealing with Bathurst's most prominent eyesore.
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The NSW Government says it will help Bathurst Regional Council assess whether there is contamination that needs cleaning up at the old Bathurst Gasworks and what, if any, structural repairs are needed.
Any new life for the location is still many years away, though, because gas company Jemena's lease on the site won't run out until 2028.
The old gasworks has been in the news regularly in recent years, but not usually for the right reasons.
There was also disagreement last year about whether or not the gasworks was a heritage item.
In announcing that the NSW Government will help council investigate the state of the gasworks, Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said it would be an initial step into making the site into a usable asset.
"The Bathurst Gasworks has been part of the industrial fabric of our community since 1888 and it's fantastic to know it will be assessed by experts so we can determine what the future use for the site might be," he said.
"It's the first step towards repurposing this historic industrial icon and turning it into an asset that the community can once again look on with pride.
"At the moment it is an eyesore of the Bathurst skyline and I want to see the planning take place now to see that progress can be made in a few years' time when Jemena's lease runs out on the site in 2028."
The Western Advocate's history columnist Alan McRae said in a column last year that Bathurst councillors decided to build their own gas plant in the 1880s due to complaints about a private gas plant fronting Durham Street.
He said the two gasworks competed side by side for many years.
Gas production ended at the Russell Street site in 1987 when natural gas arrived in Bathurst.
Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said NSW Crown Lands - which owns the gasworks land - will work closely with Bathurst Regional Council "to determine a future use that can bring the most benefit for the Bathurst community".
"We're aiming for the best outcome for the many people who know and love this area and its fascinating history," he said.
He said Crown Lands is working alongside lease-holder Jemena to arrange access to the site.
Mayor Robert Taylor, meanwhile, said council supports the work that will be undertaken to provide a better understanding of the condition of the site and the buildings.
"Some of the structures have heritage significance and we want to ensure we know the condition of these buildings and the others on site, as well as what repairs are required to inform any future decisions around the gasworks site," he said.
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