Residents agree hall must stay
More than 80 residents attended a community meeting last Wednesday and agreed to move a motion requesting Moira Shire Council rescind their decision to demolish the community hall.
Moira Shire Council at its June ordinary meeting voted to have the hall and the adjacent old kindergarten site demolished to make way for a new library development and car park.
A community action group made up mainly of residents who use the hall for functions and meetings also moved that the former P-4 government primary school on Piper Street be released to the council for community development such as a library precinct.
The action group now to be referred to as Town Hall Precinct Friends Group organised the meeting to explore arguments for and against Moira Shire Council’s resolution as well as to consider future action and for the community to vote on motions put forward by the action group.
Group spokeswoman Jeanette Wilson said the group organised the meeting so members of the community could get their voice heard in lieu of no public meeting being organised by council before council’s decision.
“We believe that there should have been an open public meeting before the decision to demolish the community hall was passed by Moira Shire Council on June 27, 2018,” Mrs Wilson said.
“The vast majority of those present on Wednesday did not complete the survey and didn’t know about the proposed demolition.
“Council’s communication strategy needs to acknowledge that over 40 per cent of Moira Shire residents do not have internet access at home. Community meetings engender a sense of belonging and commitment and lead to healthier communities.”
Mrs Wilson said local resident Geoff Campbell has demonstrated that the site survey analysis of 2016 was faulty, that the town hall precinct is not the best site for a new library and that the old primary school site is and should be returned to the people of Yarrawonga in exchange for the Victoria Park land occupied by the Yarrawonga P-12 College.
Mrs Wilson also believes that Moira Shire Council’s consultation strategy was seriously flawed and that the Yarrawonga Library and Town Hall Precinct Community Consultation via a survey was push polling and “not democracy in action”.
“No option was presented that kept both the town hall and the community hall available to the current users,” she said.
“Both options B and C involved locating the library within the town hall which could only have meant locating it within the audito- rium and thereby destroying the auditorium for its current uses.
“Only 162 respondents gave their post code, 152 were from Moira Shire, of whom 135 were from Yarrawonga and 9 were from Mulwala.
“The Yarrawonga Library has 3,050 members according to the GVL Annual Report 2017/17, page 33, so not even many library members were aware of, able to access or willing to complete the survey,” Mrs Wilson added.
“The Urban Enterprise consultants report neither listed nor acknowledged the current usage of the community hall and kitchen, nor did it consider the social and economic benefit to the town of the usage, nor the disruption of activities caused by the proposed demolition.”
Mrs Wilson said there were no current users of the shire and /or community halls were included on the library precinct steering committee.
“Whilst we strongly opposed demolition of the community hall and kitchen we welcome the belated recognition that the Yarrawonga Town Hall requires continuous access to a commercial grade kitchen which means that the kitchen must precede demolition of the community hall and kitchen and that the architectural integrity of the shire hall must not be compromised.”
Moira Shire Councillors Cr Kevin Bourke, Cr Peter Mansfield, Cr Peter Lawless, Cr Marie Martin and local member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy were at the meeting.
All councillors were in agreeance that they would listen to the community’s concerns as well as Cr Martin and Cr Bourke both stating; “we must have community ownership as it is your building and we are looking at the future and longevity.”
The motions passed at the meeting were: 1. As Moira Shire rate payers and/or residents attending the community meeting in Yarrawonga on August 15, 2018 we respectfully request Council to rescind that part of Resolution 9.3.2 passed by Council on June 27, 2018, which refers to demolition of the Community Hall.
2. Council must ensure that there is adequate storage for chairs, tables and stage stairs before demolishing the storage shed and provide a suitable alternative site for the Yoga portable.
3. As citizens of Victoria and Moira Shire rate payers or residents attending the Community Meeting in Yarrawonga on August 15, 2018, we respectfully request Moira Shire Council and the State Government of Victoria to return the former P-4 site of the Yarrawonga College to the people of Yarrawonga for the development of facilities to benefit the Community. The Secondary College site oval is not a fair exchange for Victoria Park.
4. That a Town Hall Precinct Friends Group
More than 80 local residents attended a community meeting relating to the town hall precinct redevelopment.