Wilby Hall saved

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

The Wilby community have welcomed Moira Shire Council’s decision to prioritise budgeted funds for the remediation of the Wilby Community Hall avoiding the possibility of it being demolished.

At Moira Shire Council’s ordinary October 24 meeting council voted to allocate $285,000 in the 2018/19 budget for projects in the Wilby district. The money was budgeted in capital works for the financial year.

Members of the Wilby community identified three projects as a priority for the town including; replacement of the Wilby bridge into the recreation reserve, dust suppression and repairs to the Wilby Community Hall.

The budget allocation was insufficient to deliver all three community projects accordingly so council officers sought feedback via a survey from residents of Wilby and districts, including Pelluebla, Almonds, Boweya North, Boomahnoomoonah and east of three chain road in Telford and Tungamah regarding their project priorities. 

The consultation occurred via a letter asking residents to rank their priorities from 1 (most important) to 3 (least important). Residents were also asked to provide additional comments   

Wilby Community Hall spokesperson Helen White said after a long campaign by the Wilby community to retain the wonderful old hall the locals are pleased with Moira Shire Council’s decision to make the necessary repairs to bring their hall up to standard. 

“Four and a half years ago Moira Shire advised the Wilby Hall Section 86 Committee of a proposal to demolish the existing 60 year old building,” Helen said. 

“This decision was brought about because the hall was in need of some repairs after water damage to the front wall and some white ant activity in the cloak room.  

“The hall committee and the community were dismayed at the prospect of losing their large hall and community center. 

“It is such an important hub for the residents and is still regularly used. There are six old time dances each year, twice weekly yoga classes, monthly social mornings, CFA Fire planning sessions, Wilby Motorsports Club meetings, the Wilby Campdraft Club and Wilby Tennis Club meetings and other community meetings.

“The hall proved its value in August this year when the Wilby Campdraft Club held a huge fundraising draft at the Wilby Reserve and provided dinner for 150 people at the hall which raised $37,000 for the McGrath Foundation. 

“Other recent events include a huge Back to Wilby School event, a CWA international display featuring artefacts from PNG, folk concerts, live shows put on by Allegro, a movie night, car boot sales, trivia nights etc.

“As a result of regular submissions to Moira Shire Councillors requesting assistance, funding was finally allocated in this year’s capital works budget for Wilby infrastructure developments. “

Ms White said the results of the survey showed Wilby Community Hall as the top priority followed closely by reopening the bridge to light vehicle traffic at the main entrance to the Wilby Reserve.  

The bridge has been restricted to only pedestrian access since August 2017, which has meant that all vehicles needed to drive 3km to enter via the race track’s gate to get to the main public park area.

In adopting the recommendation to use the funds to firstly repair the Wilby Community Hall and with any monies remaining to repair the bridge, many of the councillors made comment on the satisfactory outcome for Wilby and the success of the process of consulting the community through the survey.

Coming events at Wilby include: 

This Saturday’s Lake Mulwala Rod Run Nostalgia Drag Meet from 11am-3pm. 

Sunday, October 28; Afternoon Tea Dance at Wilby & District Memorial Hall from 1pm until 5pm. 

Friday, November 23; A Drought Relief BBQ from 6pm as a get together for all the community in the current difficult year.  Saturday, December 1; The Great Victorian Bike Ride visit Wilby Recreation Reserve for a rest stop between 7am and 10:15am.