A seven-year restoration of a grand, former bank built in the NSW Southern Highlands in 1892 has finished with the opening of The Old Bank Boutique Hotel in Mittagong offering luxury heritage accommodation and a window into a bygone era.Now one of the Southern Highlands’ finest historic buildings, the Old Bank is inviting the public to withdraw from the present and deposit themselves in the genteel grandeur of yesteryear with a stay in one of the B&B’s five deluxe, individually themed suites, studio or free-standing cottage. To mark the opening of The Old Bank, guests can stay three consecutive nights until 1 December 2016, and pay for just two.Boasting a wine cellar located in the original bank vault, sealed by a one-tonne door cast in London in 1852, and a much-loved giant teddy bear called Matilda ensconced in a favourite chair in The Library, The Old Bank – just 80 minutes from Sydney – offers guests personal service, complimentary afternoon tea with home-made cake, port and shortbread for supper, hearty country breakfasts with seasonal orange juice squeezed from the owners’ own orchard and a farewell gift of home-made jam.The Victorian Romanesque-styled property was built in Mittagong in 1892 as a branch of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney with the bank manager and his family living upstairs. The building ended its life as a bank in the 1970s and fell into disrepair. In 2009, local heritage lovers, Warwick and Barbara Wainberg, purchased the property – then a dilapidated pigeon coop – and, using local tradespeople, began the immaculate and painstaking restoration project to return the stately building to its former glory on Mittagong’s main street.The new-look Old Bank now features original, tessellated tiles and double swing, cedar doors in the grand, front porch, three log fires, leather chesterfield sofas in the cosy library and lounge, pull cord lighting, indoor and outdoor dining areas, fountain-festooned courtyard, polished cedar staircase, ornate cornices, plush, hand-made, woollen rugs, Egyptian cotton bed linen, feather doonas and heated bathroom floors and towel racks.Coffee machines, fresh milk and phone-charging points are available in all rooms, sun-facing balconies adjoin two suites and walls throughout the hotel are adorned with dozens of historic photos capturing life in the Southern Highlands over a century ago. Pennies and h’pennies found during the restoration have been framed for viewing and fresh flowers add to the captivating charm. Original stables and a convict-built coach house behind the Old Bank are also being restored as heritage accommodation, to open early 2017.During their stay at the character-filled Old Bank, guests can visit the ducks at nearby Lake Alexandra, admire the views from the peaks of Mt Gibraltar and Mt Alexandra, which overlook the hotel, and visit the many antique stores, boutiques, galleries, gardens, restaurants, cafes, wineries, award-winning gardens, walking trails, bicycle tracks and golf courses for which the Southern Highlands are famous.Accommodation at The Old Bank is available from $295 per room per night on weeknights (Sunday to Thursday) and from $345 on weekends (Friday to Saturday). For stays until 1 December 2016, guests can stay for three nights and pay for two. Rates include afternoon tea and full breakfast. Local wines and ciders are available from the cellar. The Old Bank also caters for weddings, business events and private functions. Free Wi-Fi in house and complimentary pick-ups from Mittagong Railway Station are also offered.
Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved a rule requiring airport shuttles at the state’s 13 largest airports to transition entirely to ZEVs by 2035. The regulation applies to both public and private fleets, including those from parking facilities, rental car agencies, and hotels. Six California airports and private fleets serving nine airports have already purchased EV shuttles, according to CARB. There are currently 48 electric shuttles in operation and almost 100 more have been ordered, representing 15 percent of all airport shuttles in the state.The new rule will roll out in phases. Beginning in 2022, shuttle fleets will be required to report the details of their vehicles. Starting in 2023, if fleets are replacing a ZEV shuttle, the replacement vehicle must also be a ZEV.The schedule is intended to allow fleets to retain eligibility for incentive funding during most of the transition period, as well as allowing fleets to use their current shuttles for the remainder of their useful life.The regulation is expected to impact almost 1,000 shuttles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 500,000 metric tons. Shuttle fleet owners are estimated to save $30 million in fuel and maintenance costs from 2020 to 2040, according to CARB.Source: California Air Resources Board