Cur­tain call for hall

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY EMMA PRIOR

The com­mu­nity hall and old kinder­garten on Orr St will make way for a new $2.8m li­brary fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion by Moira Shire Coun­cil.

The Yar­ra­wonga Li­brary and Town Hall precinct de­ci­sion was de­cided at coun­cil’s June or­di­nary meet­ing with the rec­om­men­da­tion to pro­ceed with the de­vel­op­ment of a new li­brary as de­scribed in op­tion A.

Op­tion A is to be com­pleted in two stages with stage 1 in­clud­ing the de­mol­ish­ing of the com­mu­nity hall and old kinder­garten build­ing.

A new li­brary would then be built at the rear of the Yar­ra­wonga Town Hall and would al­low for ad­di­tional car park­ing and ad­di­tional green space with an es­ti­mated cost of $2.8m.

Stage 2 will in­clude the fu­ture re­fur­bish­ment of the Yar­ra­wonga Town Hall.

This stage is in­de­pen­dent to li­brary works and de­pen­dant on se­cur­ing fund­ing with an es­ti­mated cost of $1.9m.

Moira Shire Coun­cil de­cided to en­dorse the rec­om­men­da­tion af­ter they con­ducted an on­line sur­vey from March 29 to May 11 for mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to give their feed­back and vote on one of three op­tions.

There was a to­tal of 215 sur­vey re­sponses re­ceived as well as three writ­ten sub­mis­sions which were en­tered into a sur­vey sys­tem to en­sure anal­y­sis was com­plete.

Through­out the sur­vey, when par­tic­i­pants

were asked whether a li­brary should be lo­cated in the town hall precinct 67% agreed.

Pri­or­i­ties for the precinct iden­ti­fied ‘re­tain and re­pair the Town Hall’ (43%) and ‘a new mod­ern and larger li­brary’ (37%) as the two most im­por­tant as­pects of the precincts de­vel­op­ment.

Cr Peter Mansfield and Cr Gary Cleve­land said from the re­sponses coun­cil re­ceived, mem­bers of coun­cil were able to dis­tin­guish what the com­mu­nity was af­ter in their town hall and li­brary.

“All of the re­sponses we re­ceived had a lot of in­for­ma­tion, there were no just yes or no an­swers and we got to hear what the com­mu­nity wants for their own build­ing,” Cr Mansfield said.

“The use by date of the com­mu­nity hall is up and as for the kinder­garten, it is past its use by date.

“Works need to be done sooner rather than later as it has been too long be­tween drinks on the build­ing and it needs re­fur­bish­ing; money needs to be spent re­gard­less.

“This is a multi-mil­lion dol­lar de­vel­op­ment, we will only get one shot at it and we want to get it right the first time.

“We want this new precinct to be invit­ing to the wider com­mu­nity and for ev­ery­one to be able to use it, not just li­brary mem­bers or Yar­ra­wonga lo­cals.”

A large pro­por­tion of those sur­veyed sup­ported the re­fur­bish­ment and re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the Yar­ra­wonga Town Hall for im­proved use, in­clud­ing a com­mer­cial kitchen, toi­lets, al­la­bil­i­ties ac­cess and air con­di­tion­ing up­grades.

In recog­nis­ing that Op­tion A in­cludes the re­moval of the Com­mu­nity, the Yar­ra­wonga Li­brary Project Steer­ing Com­mit­tee rec­om­mended that com­mer­cial kitchen ser­vices be pro­vided within the Town Hall precinct.

Cr Mansfield said the in­clu­sion of a new, com­pli­ant com­mer­cial kitchen to the new struc­ture and the re­fur­bish­ing of much of the cur­rent hall was vi­tal to the fu­ture of the build­ing.

“There has to be a com­mer­cial kitchen to ser­vice the hall if it is to re­main,” Cr Mansfield said.

“That’s the bot­tom line, if you haven’t got a com­mer­cial kitchen you have a de­serted hall and it gets less use. It’s im­per­i­tive.”

Mul­ti­ple men­tions through­out the sur­veys were also made of car park­ing be­ing crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of any de­vel­op­ment of the precinct.

There was also strong sup­port that the Yar­ra­wonga Town Hall was a place of com­mu­nity pride and his­tory and should re­main as such.

“Many mod­ern li­braries in re­gional ar­eas have be­come a com­mu­nity hub, and with an ex­pand­ing land­scape for the new li­brary we are hop­ing this be­comes a great wide space for com­mu­nity in­ter­ac­tion,” Cr Cleve­land said.

“For the size of the town of Yar­ra­wonga we should re­ally have a li­brary three times the size of the cur­rent build­ing and re­ports are al­ways in­di­cat­ing the size of the cur­rent li­brary is an is­sue,” Cr Mansfield added.

“It’s a once in a gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity.” Both Cr Mansfield and Cr Cleve­land said coun­cil was plan­ning to have the com­mu­nity in­volved in all facets of the con­struc­tion in­clud­ing fur­ther feed­back and the phys­i­cal con­struc­tion of the new struc­tures.

“There is a num­ber of peo­ple who want to be in­volved in the whole process to come, much like a steer­ing com­mit­tee and we welcome them thor­oughly,” Cr Cleve­land said.

“We are go­ing to have the com­mu­nity in­volved in all stages of the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment.

“When we put to­gether the works for the Co­bram li­brary, we put to­gether pre­sen­ta­tions and pam­phlets for the com­mu­nity to dis­tin­guish what was hap­pen­ing, where and why and we are look­ing at do­ing the same sort of thing here.”

Cr Cleve­land also in­structed where the projects fund­ing will come from and how the com­mu­nity can also get in­volved in fund­ing projects.

“Again with Co­bram we had the op­tion for do­na­tions from the com­mu­nity and they amounted to around $208,000, we are hop­ing for some­thing sim­i­lar for Yar­ra­wonga in terms of our pub­li­cis­ing and do­na­tions,” Cr Cleve­land said.

“Also the sale of the ex­ist­ing li­brary site – which is coun­cil owned – will go a long way to con­tribut­ing to­wards the costs of this ex­cit­ing new de­vel­op­ment.

“We will have sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties for fundrais­ing.”

Moira Shire is in the process of putting for­ward a Liv­ing Li­braries sub­mis­sion through the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment which will go to­wards the fund­ing of the li­brary re­de­vel­op­ment as well as cre­at­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion avail­able to the com­mu­nity for fu­ture de­vel­op­ments.

Op­tion A is to be com­pleted in two stages with stage 1 in­clud­ing the de­mol­ish­ing of the com­mu­nity hall and old kinder­garten build­ing.

Cr Gary Cleve­land and Cr Peter Mansfield stand at the site of the new li­brary and town hall precinct re­de­vel­op­ment.

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