Bundalaguah Hall: the ‘real story’

THE Bundalaguah Myrtlebank Hall Committee was disappointed to read the article (Gippsland Times 7/5) headed ‘Up in arms over Bundalaguah Hall’ and feel that it has been misrepresented.

The committee was required to close the hall because of damage to the wiring in the switchboard.

The Bundalaguah Myrtlebank Hall is an incorporated body and has been since August last year.

As such it expected the shire to sign the licensing and service agreement and continue to support the hall, which has not eventuated.

It is interesting that the quotes obtained and accepted by the shire were virtually double those obtained by the committee for the same work.

This raises some interesting questions for ratepayers.

Our expectation was that the shire would fund the priority issues to render the hall electrically safe that included emergency exit lighting and emergency door upgrades.

The quotes obtained by the committee for this were not expensive.

The hall could then be reopened for bookings and the other minor works carried out at a later date.

The committee is also concerned that those reading the report in the Times would gain an impression that the committee had done little to the hall in the past 10 years.

In fact the hall has undergone many major improvements under the tenure of the hall committee during that time.

The interior of the hall was fully repainted.

All the timber flooring in the main hall, meeting room and kitchen was sanded and resealed.

A community working bee made new curtains for all the windows and the stage curtains were replaced.

Upgrades were made to the hall lighting and an external light fitted.

In the kitchen a new hot water service was added and the stove and refrigerator were replaced.

New cisterns were placed in the male and female toilets.

New tables were bought for the meeting room.

And most recently, a disability access has been added to the side door.

The importance of this hall to the Bundalaguah community and to the wider community should not be underestimated.

This hall is situated on the busiest non-arterial road in Australia on a large block of land.

This provides many opportunities for advertising exposure to enable the community to hold successful functions inside and outside.

It is in a central location within easy reach of Sale, Maffra and Stratford.

This hall offers an opportunity for small groups with limited funding to find an affordable venue.

Already we have received expressions of interest for monthly markets, weddings, club meetings, yoga classes and music and art groups.

The provenance of the building is also important in heritage terms.

A local farmer gave the land to the community for the construction of the hall and the hall itself was built with community-raised funds.

The CWA was active in fundraising for this building and has met there regularly since its inception, supporting the hall for the past 59 years.

This is another example of the shire centralising services and disempowering rural communities.