Clubroom redevelopment to proceed

Clubroom redevelopment to proceed

The Mallacoota Recreation Reserve clubroom redevelopment will go ahead after East Gippsland Shire councillors voted to proceed with the project.

Despite community concerns prompting 14 objections from the original planning application, mostly regarding the scale and location of the redevelopment, revised plans reduced the size of the facility to minimise impact on Greer Street.

Revised plans were circulated prior to a planning consulting meeting in Mallacoota in March.

Cr Mark Reeves said it was a great outcome for the Mallacoota community to have the clubrooms and facilities redeveloped without impacting greatly on nearby residents and community members.

“I hope the nearby residents felt their concerns were heard and they have been responded to,” Cr Reeves said.

“We understand the complexities of the location and I think the officers have worked hard to try and form an intersection of meeting the needs and maximising the desired outcomes of the site.

“I hope community members also agree with councillors in that we think the consultation has been extensive and sufficient and I hope those who were concerned feel reassured that the result is a facility that will complement the site and respond to their concerns.”

The original catalyst for the development of a community clubroom facility for Mallacoota was the Mallacoota Recreation Reserve Master Plan (2015). At the beginning of that strategic planning process a vision was established to guide the development of the plan.

The overarching objective was for the recreation reserve to continue as the social, sporting and recreation hub for the Mallacoota and surrounding communities.

The vision to achieve this became: “The Mallacoota Recreation Reserve and associated facilities will be inclusive, barrier-free and meet the needs and expectations of our community and our visitors”.

The Mallacoota Recreation Reserve Master Plan identified six ‘short term’ priority projects; the development of community clubrooms and new storage facilities were agreed as the highest priority short-term projects. The Mallacoota Recreation Reserve Master Plan states: The proposed clubrooms could be situated roughly on the camp park road near the kindergarten or on a site adjacent to the tennis courts. There is the possibility that this facility, for 11 months of the year, could provide facilities for the town and, in the peak tourist season, provide extra amenities for the camp park. The clubrooms would consist of a meeting/display room, kitchen/emergency facility, canteen, toilets/showers and disabled toilets/showers including some storage for local users of the building. A separate storage facility was also identified as necessary.

A planning permit was submitted to develop the community clubroom facility on the Greer Street site. Some 14 objections were received, along with 10 submissions of support. This resulted in the requirement for a Planning Consultative Meeting, which was held in Mallacoota on March 5.

In response to the objections, council officers sought to identify possible modifications to the building design to mitigate some of the specific concerns.

The total project budget is $1,325,590. The Australian Government has contributed $250,000 from its Community Development Grants Program, and $725,590 from its Building Better Regions Fund. Council has allocated $300,000 to the project.

A modified building design was produced, which officers believe addressed many of the concerns, while still resulting in a highly functional facility that meets the needs of the community.

Mayor, Cr Natalie O’Connell, said she was pleased to see the project now move to the construction phase.

“There have been a number of challenges with this project. It was originally proposed to build the clubrooms elsewhere in the recreation reserve; however, cultural surveys0 showed that site to be significant to the area’s Traditional Owner groups,” Cr O’Connell said.

“The location where the clubrooms will be built gives a great view of the sporting grounds for spectators and officials, and also offers the opportunity to develop a facility that can be more readily used by the tennis club.

“This is a great outcome for the Mallacoota community that balances the need to recognise the cultural significance of the site, the outcomes sought by the sporting clubs, and surrounding land uses.”

Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, welcomed council’s decision saying he was pleased the project had reached this important milestone.

“The clubrooms have been planned for a long time now and members of the Mallacoota community have worked hard to get this project off the ground,” Mr Chester said.

“I worked to secured $975,000 from the Federal Government for this project as I believed the clubrooms would provide a needed focal point and gathering place for local sporting and community groups.”

Construction on the clubrooms was due to start last year, but was delayed when investigations uncovered a high number of artefacts and charcoal. These items were confirmed by carbon dating to be 3399 years old.

“I know the council has worked closely with the local community to identify an alternate location for the clubrooms and modified its plans to suit the new site and take into account community feedback,” Mr Chester said.