MEMBER for Ripon Louise Staley has mailed out petitions to households calling for the state government to re-open Aradale.
The former psychiatric hospital was closed on August 2 with little warning after a report commissioned by Melbourne Polytechnic found unsafe lead levels in the paint.
Melbourne Polytechnic is the committee of management for the property and uses some of the grounds to run courses in wine growing.
Ms Staley sent the petition out earlier this week and said she has received many complaints from constituents about the closure.
"My office has been swamped by angry Ararat residents who were blindsided by the loss of this beloved attraction," she said. "The petition to Parliament is a practical action Ararat residents can take to make sure Daniel Andrews knows their views. Our region heavily relies on tourism, and the Aradale tours were filling up local restaurants and accommodation every week."
Melbourne Polytechnic executive director finance and infrastructure Claire Britchford said that the organisation was still in preliminary discussions.
"Melbourne Polytechnic continues to work with a range of stakeholders to determine the scope of works required to effectively remediate the historic buildings at the former Aradale Mental Hospital," she said.
"Given the expected complexity of the work required and that the scoping work is still in the early stages, Melbourne Polytechnic is not yet able to provide further information on the anticipated timelines for remediation to be completed."
Ararat resident Alex Drosg received a copy of Ms Staley's petition but said it wasn't the way to go about the issue.
"Of course we all want Aradale to re-open," he said. "But Ms Staley's letter and petition mostly looks like political point scoring. It completely fails to address the main concern here; the lead paint and protection for maintenance workers employed by Melbourne Polytechnic.
"In due course this will be addressed by the relevant authorities. It is simply a matter of implementing well established OH&S remediation procedures. It is not, essentially, a matter of calling on public opinion with petitions; a try-hard political stunt."
Friends of J Ward member Pauline Roberts said tourism numbers had been impacted.
'We've probably lost 75 to 80 per cent of our visitation to J Ward through the closure of Aradale," she said.
Mrs Roberts said visits to Aradale in August 2018 numbered 929, but for August and September 2019, tickets purchased online for a joint tour of Aradale and J Ward numbered only 134.
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