LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
FIFTY years ago, the Maffra Shire oversaw the demolition of three iconic buildings in Johnson St, the shire office, the post office and the state bank.
Not content with that, it decided to 'modernise' the precinct with the 'new' technology, the cantilever verandah.
One by one the shop owners complied, going to great expense and ruining one of the facets of our beautifully designed streetscape.
A young retailer refused to co-operate, and with a week to go on the deadline, he refurbished his verandah and the shire capitulated.
Twenty years ago, the same man and a dozen others were awarded $80,000 as a Pride of Place award from the state government.
They took that money and with the help of some co-operative public servants blue collar they gave the Maffra community the Macalister Park complex, converting a tip site and an ugly jungle of the riverbank into a park of which we can be proud.
The Wellington Shire of the time sequestered $20,000 to install the pedestrian crossing and replace some street furniture.
Five years ago that same bloke was on the committee that decided to turn our community sports club into the tourist attraction we have now, reinstating the iconic verandah that was removed to comply with regulations.
I am sceptical that this new offer will benefit our town.
Maffra has a quality shop for every personal need. We have competition in banking, rural supplies, vehicle sales and service, and rural machinery.
These quality shops are family owned and operated, and I would suggest that months of restricted access perceived or actual could lead to financial hardship.
What would benefit our town would be two storey residential developments in the current empty shops that included 'balcony living' over the footpath, with verandah posts, in a style which complemented the streetscape.
The installations would then meet original intent of the first town plan which involved eight 'vertical planes' across our broad main street hence Maffra's reputed, shady, tree lined thoroughfare.