EXCITEMENT is building for the opening of Dunkeld’s new $1.6 million community centre — now only six months away.
Construction has at last begun on the centre, which has been on the community agenda for nearly a decade.
“We anticipate completion around September this year,” community centre committee chairwoman Mary-Ann Brown said.
Already one group has booked the venue. The Victorian Electoral Commission will use the refurbished mechanics institute as a polling station for the November election.
“We’re going to have a multi-function space that will have capacity for around 250,” Ms Brown said. The centre will also host weddings, funerals, conferences and parties.
More importantly it will serve as a community evacuation centre in the event of floods or bushfire.
“We had a situation a few years ago where there were floods and people needed to be evacuated from the caravan park,” Ms Brown said.
The mechanics institute dates back to 1892 but the existing facade was built during a redevelopment in the 1950s.
Ms Brown said the centre would work with other accommodation services and businesses in town such as the Royal Mail Hotel to bring more visitors into the Grampians gateway.
Meanwhile, outgoing Lowan MP Hugh Delahunty hailed the first works on the centre.
“I was privileged to turn the first sod for the $1.6 million Dunkeld Community Centre which will provide the district with a modern facility capable of hosting community events, RSL meetings and accommodating locals in times of emergency,” Mr Delahunty said. The Coalition government had provided $500,000 towards the project.
Mr Delahunty said the centre would include a community office with IT and equipment, kitchen, kiosk, events space, administration area and information display.