All for the Mill and a Mill for All
In spite of a rather bleak outlook, the local community would stand staunchly by their treasured Mill during the 80’s, 90’s and into the new millenium. Local community member, Mrs Ainslie Evans was perhaps the most steadfast in her activism for the building. At one point prior to the Mill’s closure she went as far as buying shares in the then publicly listed entity in order to gain a seat on the Board. Her view being that as a Director she would be better placed to ensure that the Mill’s fate would not be decided in a manner which would be contrary to the community’s wishes. Ainslie and others would preside over the Mill being purchased by the Shire of Katanning and then being used for community activities including an arts and crafts centre and a local Tourist Bureau.
However, by 2008 maintenance and safety issues meant these activities could not continue. The public purse would not stretch to support the building’s upkeep and the prospect of dereliction became real. Perhaps in part clever marketing and in part financial necessity, the Shire of Katanning invited interest from developers to purchase the building for just one dollar. In return they sought from applicants imagination and robust capital for a scheme which they felt could be a game-changer for their town. It was from this expression of interest that the idea for what is now the Premier Mill Hotel took shape.