$2.8m library precinct to proceed
A recommendation to progress with the development in line with the motion carried at the June Moira Shire Council Ordinary council meeting was passed at council’s December meeting following a petition to rescind the motion which was submitted by residents.
The recommendation also stated council would continue to engage with the community on the development of a new library within the town hall precinct and the first mentioned signatory of the petition to be informed of council’s decision.
The December ordinary meeting agenda states through consultation with the community it was very clear to council that a section of the community is strongly opposed to the demolition of the community hall which would include the commercial kitchen.
This feedback has recently been formalised through the presentation of the following petition, with 312 signatures:
“This petition of ratepayers and residents of Moira Shire Council respectfully requests that Moira Shire Council rescind the part of the Resolution 9.3.2 passed by council on June 27, 2018 which refers to the demolition of the community hall and would involve demolishing the shire hall kitchen facilities. Council must ensure that the shire hall has ongoing kitchen and dining facilities and adequate storage for chairs, tables and stage stairs before demolishing storage shed.”
The council ordinary meeting agenda states council has been working towards improving the library facilities in Yarrawonga for many years. Space constraints at the current library site limit its capacity to provide contemporary library services.
The agenda also states the steering committee and council have heard the community’s feedback.
Consequently, undertakings have been made to ensure that the functionality currently available within the town hall precinct will continue, at the same, if not at improved levels once the library development has occurred.
However, the presence of the community hall on the site has a number of negative impacts. These include:
restricting the possibilities for the future libraries design;
limiting the potential of the library project to improve the overall precinct, in particular lifting the prominence and presence of the town hall on the streetscape;
preventing connectivity of a new library to the town hall;
minimizing the potential for people to interact with and use the town hall; continuing to have a congested site; minimizing the potential for onsite parking and/ or green space;
retention of an outdated and substandard building asset that would require significant capital investment to be lifted to meet today’s amenity and service level standards.
The agenda also states the community is currently being asked to consider and provide feedback on three concepts detailing how the new library may be accommodated on the town hall precinct.
Following this community feedback, as well as input from technical experts the concepts will be reviewed and amended. Further community consultation will occur at this point.
Councillors had the opportunity to speak for and against the motion at the December ordinary council meeting with divided views being cast.
“This is not just a new library but a community hub and we’ve moved motions in the past that the facilities provided by the existing community hall will be incorporated where possible in the new community hub and library,” Cr Peter Mansfield said.
“I’d like to reaffirm that it has become quite clear from the community that we need to provide services that the present hub already offers,” Cr Peter Lawless said.
“We are certainly not going to be rushing into doing anything the community is not going to support.”
Cr Marie Martin agreed Yarrawonga needs a new library; “you won’t get any arguments from me there, but we have a petition on our books that has more names on it than the original survey,” Cr Martin said.
“I wonder do we need to go out wider in the community and canvas a bit more because it’s a terrific project and it’s going to have to last a long time, so we don’t want any negative doubts.”
Cr Kevin Bourke concurred with Cr Martin adding that there should be a possibility for all alternatives to be reviewed.
“I feel adamant we need to explore all possibilities, I don’t want to be in a position to make a decision when we only have half the story,” Cr Bourke said.
“Whether we look at alternative sites, there’s no mad rush, I feel we need to compile all the facts together.”
Moira and Strathbogie Shires together with Greater Shepparton City Council have established Goulburn Valley Regional Libraries (GVRL) to provide library services on behalf of council.
The agenda states future area growth projections have been used to inform the design and needs analysis of the Yarrawonga Library and planned redevelopment of the Town Hall Precinct.
The request to rescind the June 2018 motion is one that is open to the council however this would require a notice of rescission in accordance with the local law.
Moira Shire Council voted seven to two at last week’s December meeting to proceed with the development of a new library on the Yarrawonga Town Hall precinct as previously recommended and passed at its June meeting.
A new $2.8 million library precinct planned for the back of the Yarrawonga Town Hall requiring the demolition of the adjacent community hall will progress despite strong opposition from local residents.