Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

THE Ma­hogany Creek com­mu­nity has been given a life­line af­ter Mun­dar­ing Shire coun­cil­lors voted to al­low res­i­dents to put their case for­ward to stop their lo­cal hall from the wreck­ing ball.

The Shire of Mun­dar­ing had orig­i­nally slated the de­mo­li­tion of the hall as part of its pro­posal to min­imise rate in­creases by re­duc­ing and ceas­ing some ser­vices.

At the Shire’s spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, July 19, coun­cil­lors voted 11-1 that no ac­tion on the pro­posed de­mo­li­tion of the hall would be taken be­fore Jan­uary 24, 2018.

Shire Pres­i­dent David Lavell said the com­mu­nity now had the op­por­tu­nity to present a busi­ness case to the Shire by De­cem­ber 22.

“The busi­ness case will have to demon­strate how the com­mu­nity will take on full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the hall, in­clud­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for manag­ing and main­tain­ing the hall and all the costs as­so­ci­ated with the op­er­a­tion, main­te­nance and cap­i­tal up­grades of the hall,” he said.

The com­mu­nity built and opened the hall in 1955 and ran it un­til the Shire took over own­er­ship in the 1980s.

“In 2017, we are try­ing to save this hall from de­mo­li­tion, and we have been granted a six month re­prieve. In order to achieve this we need to form a lo­cal com­mu­nity group who will take over the lease from the Shire,” Ma­hogany Creek Hall Com­mu­nity Group spokes­woman Kara Pow­ell said

Ma­hogany Creek fa­ther-of-two Jack Satchell said the hall was an im­por­tant hub in the com­mu­nity.

“With­out a hall, play­ground or ten­nis courts you wouldn’t know your neigh­bours as well as we do now,” Mr Satchell said.

“The area is well used by the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing older res­i­dents who reg­u­larly play ten­nis.

“It is the hub of our sub­urb and to lose it would mean peo­ple need­ing to drive to Mun­dar­ing or Glen For­rest to ac­cess sim­i­lar fa­cil­i­ties.”

Mr Satchell said there was a greater need than ever for a hub, with the de­mo­graphic of the area chang­ing.

“Our sub­urb has al­ways been writ­ten off as an age­ing pop­u­la­tion but we now have a lot of young fam­i­lies mov­ing in,” he said.

“We have had a good rep­re­sen­ta­tion from older res­i­dents who want to save the hall, now we need to get out there and make the younger gen­er­a­tion aware of the pro­posal and get their sup­port.”

Busi­ness cases are to be pre­sented to the Shire by close of busi­ness on De­cem­ber 22 in order for a re­port to be con­sid­ered by coun­cil at its or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing on Jan­uary 23, 2018.

If no busi­ness cases are sub­mit­ted, the de­mo­li­tion of the hall will start as soon as prac­ti­ca­ble af­ter Jan­uary 23, 2018.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt d471862

Jack Satchell and other lo­cal res­i­dents are fight­ing to save their hall.

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