Tourism proposals for old American River Health Service building

American River, Kangaroo Island as seen from the air. Photo by Mike Galea
American River, Kangaroo Island as seen from the air. Photo by Mike Galea

The Kangaroo Island Council at is September meeting heard about two separate proposals to redevelop the old, unused American River Health Service building into a tourism attraction.

Two proposals have been received by the council concerning this asset located at 1 Tangara Drive, one from the American River Progress Association (ARPA) wanting to create a community and visitors hub.

The other proposal is from Tony Blight from KI Electrical and KI Tru Thai, wanting to create a “one stop hub” for local produce, arts, crafts and information.

The councillors at the meeting voted to pass a motion directing the American River Progress Association to conduct community consultation to determine what community members wanted for the building. 

According to the council agenda, the ARPA proposal seeks a long-term lease arrangement with a the option of them paying a peppercorn lease for the first five years and then a commercial sum thereafter to provide them with the opportunity to build the range of services they propose.

The private proposal is for a purchase of the property with the intent of converting it to provide tourism supporting services.

“This is possible for council to countenance but, as Community Land, there are a set of formal processes that would need to be undergone to revoke Community Land Status (involving public consultation and an application to the Minister) before clear title and a decision to sell can be enacted,” the executive summary reads.

“Given the alternate proposal is from the community it is suggested that this would not likely succeed and therefore ARPA’s proposal is more realistic to consider.

“Given there has been an established relationship between ARPA and council in the form of a formal lease for this building up until recently and council have no other options for the use of this building at this time, it is recommended that council direct the CEO to complete negotiations with ARPA of a new lease and then return to council with this for formal endorsement.”

The councillors also had a brief discussion on the adjacent John Buick Memorial Gardens, the site of the old mulberry tree.

CEO Andrew Boardman informed the councillors that the formal boundaries of the memorial garden at Lot 12 Buick Drive were still being determined.