Criterion hotel to remain on city's heritage schedule

Date published: 13 December 2016

Townsville City Council has voted against a proposal to remove The Criterion Hotel from the local heritage register.

A meeting of full council today heard public sentiment expressed during a 30 day community consultation period on the issue was in favour of retaining the building as an example of early 20th century architecture and as a distinctive landmark on The Strand.

Some 388 submissions were made after owners of the hotel, Gleeson Properties Pty Ltd, applied to remove the property from council’s register of Places of Cultural Heritage Value within the Townsville City Plan.

Around 57 per cent of respondents were in favour of retaining the hotel that lies within the boundary of the proposed The Hive development.

Planning and Development Committee Chairman Cr Les Walker said it was clear the old hotel held a lot of significance to the local community.

“This issue received a lot of attention from residents right across the city, many of whom recalled a strong connection to the old Cri,” Cr Walker said.

“There were very good arguments either way and it was appropriate council consulted with the community before making any decision.

“The Hive is a substantial proposal for the city and I trust the developers recognise the potential in retaining not only the old Queens Hotel and the Lilac Court units but also The Criterion as distinctive features of the development.”

Reasons provided in the 219 submissions in support of retaining the hotel included that it was part of Townsville’s history (38%), that it could easily become part of the new development (11%), and that people were keen to see it restored (13%) and the façade remain (10%).

Of the 156 submissions in favour of removing the building from the register, 35% stated it should be demolished to make way for new development, 8% said the building was unattractive, 16% said new development would be good for the local economy and 6% said it would create jobs.