Roebourne’s Victoria Hotel praised for local engagement

Alicia PereraPilbara News

The effort to restore Roebourne’s Victoria Hotel has drawn praise for providing a catalyst for local employment in the town.

With a contract for 86 per cent of works to be done by local and Aboriginal businesses, so far the redevelopment project has created 5000 employment hours for local people on mainly construction work.

Key groups involved so far include GBSC Yurra, Yindjibarndi and Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporations, the Roebourne Prison Work Camp, Roebourne District High School and Clontarf Academy.

Speaking at a community gathering about the project last week, Pilbara Development Commission chief executive Terry Hill said the hotel redevelopment was a great example of a project that engaged and skilled local people.

“This is a project for the community, built by the community,” he said.

“The Victoria Hotel is a key part of the town’s history but it also symbolises the potential for Roebourne as a reinvigorated, vibrant hub where community, business and visitors can come together.”

Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Michael Woodley said the restoration had generated excitement and a sense of new opportunity.

“We’ve made a real effort to get the whole community involved and it’s been great to see them embrace this project,” he said.

The restoration aims to transform the historic hotel, which has been closed for more than a decade, into a town cultural and commercial hub after its purchase by Roebourne’s YAC in 2013, and is being supported by the corporation, the Pilbara Development Commission through Royalties for Regions and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Right Foot Forward is the company managing the redevelopment and project manager James Hughes said it was “inspiring” to see such a high level of interest in the redevelopment from the local community.

“It’s one of the first projects I’ve been part of where everyone involved, from community groups to contractors, are really excited to be a part of it,” he said.

“The whole essence is to turn what was once a negative asset in town into a positive one, so that’s really been embraced by everyone involved.”

Department of Justice Superintendent Dave White said inmates with the Roebourne Town Work Camp had contributed more than 2000 hours to the project so far, giving them valuable skills towards future employment.

The Victoria Hotel redevelopment is about 60 per cent complete and is expected to be finished by mid-December. It will be opened to the community early next year.

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