Poor communication and a mutual refusal to compromise has pushed the stoush between Moyne Shire Council and the Mortlake Community Development Committee over a community meeting room into the hands of lawyers.
Committee president Kelvin Goodall said he and his fellow members didn't believe there was an alternative venue that could provide the same amenities as the current space, but he conceded MCDC hadn't made efforts to discuss alternatives with the council.
"Why should we be going to them asking to discuss alternative spaces when they're kicking us out of the one purpose built space in Mortlake," he said.
When the community room dispute was raised at the June council meeting, several councillors asked Mr Goodall about whether an alternative space would be acceptable to the local community groups if it was retrofitted with the same amenities as the current room. No specific alternative sites were discussed in detail.
Mr Goodall said council had told MCDC it would provide a shortlist of alternative spaces in Mortlake.
"They've said several times they would give us alternative options, but we are still yet to see anything," he said.
The Standard understands one option was for the various groups to use the council chambers to hold their meetings. Mr Goodall said that hadn't been mentioned to him or MCDC, and it wasn't realistic. "The chamber's not good enough, sharing with council isn't going to work."
Mr Goodall said the council had refused to discuss situating its new hub anywhere other than the community room. "When we've met with them they've said this is just what's happening," he said.
UPDATED - WEDNESDAY
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Councillor Jim Doukas said the council's failure to provide alternative options was "just not good enough", but both parties had been "pigheaded" and the community would be left footing the legal bill.
"One of the reasons I voted against (the motion terminating the lease) was neither side was going to compromise, so there needed to be more dialogue," he said.
Cr Doukas also asked why the council had to situate its new library hub in the one space that had been specifically set aside for community use.
"These new hub employees are just office workers, what's the difference where they work? They could work anywhere, all they need is a desk and a laptop," he said.
The council has said setting up the hub elsewhere in Mortlake would force council to rent office space and council wanted to avoid spending extra money.
Mr Goodall said the additional rental cost would be far less than the $90,000 council had just agreed to give Port Fairy's Belfast Aquatics.
"They have a very poor understanding of Mortlake," he said.
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