Loco Shed soon to be open for community use

By Lachlan Durling

AFTER more than 30 years in planning, Echuca’s Loco Shed can be opened for community use.

Campaspe Shire Council has finalised the last step in transferring the land on Sturt St, including the heritage listed shed, after it was sold to the Echuca Loco Shed community group in December for $150.

The land at 95 Sturt St was owned by council and the building owned by the incorporated community group, Loco Shed Echuca until 2018, when council approved the transfer of the land.

“The transfer consolidates the land and building into one single ownership,” Campaspe Shire Council chief executive Declan Moore said.

“It gives the group full control of the site, clarity of ownership and will support the building’s future seeing it re-purposed for community use.

“We congratulate the members of the Echuca Loco Shed for their passion and drive in getting to this stage and now look forward to the community supporting the group and seeing the site reach its full potential.”

Loco Shed Echuca group president Dick Phillips said development of the site for community use has been a long time coming.

“It has been a passion for our group for more than 30 years, and with council’s vision and support we’re keen build on the refurbishment work already undertaken,” he said.

“The consolidation simplifies funding and development processes.”

In 1986 the Echuca River Development Society, now known as Loco Shed Echuca, bought the shed from V/Line to ensure the preservation of the building.

In 1992, the former City of Echuca bought the land from the Public Transport Corporation.

In 1998, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) revised the historical status of the building to one of state significance.

And in 2014 council commissioned a conservation management plan for the shed which investigated three elements including the aesthetic, historical, scientific and social significance of the site and an interpretation strategy to celebrate the heritage of the building.

The plan identified potential future uses for the building including function centre, railway interpretation centre and tourist attraction.

“A community day is proposed, which will be an opportunity for everyone interested in the shed’s history to explore the site and also discuss concepts for its future use,” Mr Phillips said.

“In the meantime funding is being sought for works to maintain the building and prepare for future development.”