$2.8m li­brary precinct to pro­ceed

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY EMMA PRIOR

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.

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