Third time’s a charm for Pomonal Hall

David Hanscombe takes a donation to the fund from Deputy Premier Peter Ryan.Pictures: PETER PICKERINGIT WAS a case of third time lucky for the community of Pomonal, as the Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals, Peter Ryan announced $485,000 towards the redevelopment of the Pomonal Hall.

The highly sought after funding for the project has been in the pipeline for several years and after two false steps is finally guaranteed.

Almost $1 million has been invested to build the new 210 square metre hall which will include a stage, deck, toilets and meeting room.

Joined by The Nationals candidate for Lowan, Emma Kealy Mr Ryan said the $485,000 contribution towards the $985,000 Pomonal Hall Precinct Development was not election dependent.

“The Coalition Government’s $485,000 investment is being provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, and is locked in and available immediately,” he said.

“In small communities such as this, the local hall becomes the de facto hub for a wide variety of events, activities and celebrations.

“Over the years the existing hall has hosted its fair share of birthdays, weddings, engagement parties and funerals.

“While the much-loved and well-used hall has seen its day, the new hall will become equally as loved and home to many more local celebrations over the coming years and decades.”

The $985,000 project will fund demolition of the existing Pomonal Hall and recreation reserve building, to be replaced by a new multi-use community facility within the Pomonal community precinct.

At the old Pomonal Hall with Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, Lowan candidate Emma Kealy, Ararat Mayor Paul Hooper and Hugh Delahunty.

The new 210 square metre hall would include a stage, a viewing deck overlooking the neighbouring reserve, male and female toilets and change facilities, a separate meeting room, a large kitchen and lobby, and storage areas.

Secretary of the Pomonal Hall and Recreation Reserve Committee of Management, Lorraine Rowe said the funding announcement is the culmination of a decade of lobbying.

“We are absolutely delighted. We first discussed plans for this project almost 10 years ago, in that time it slipped away and got shelved,” she said.

Ms Rowe said the announcement was timely given how disheartened the community felt after two previous funding promises were reversed.

She said interest had waned just prior to the formation of a new committee to advance the project three years ago.

“Our first priority was to get the 81-year-old termite ridden town hall replaced,” she said.

“Ararat Rural City Council recognised this as a priority project and in what is the fastest growing small town in the municipality this new hall will benefit generations to come.

“Should growth be greater than we anticipate the plans we have afford us the ability to extended the hall if needed.”

Ararat Rural City Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper said redevelopment of the Pomonal Hall was well overdue.

“The Pomonal community was first promised this facility after the Mt Lubra fire (2006), that money disappeared as a result of the Kinglake fire which occurred not long after,” he said

“They’ve had to deal with a couple of broken promises – from both sides of politics, however thankfully now there is no need to be wary, as this money is not election dependent.”

Cr Hooper said the Pomonal community would be rightfully ‘over the moon’ with the announcement as they shift focus to what they want the redeveloped hall to look like.

“A lot of the hard work starts now, as a community they have to agree on design elements and looks for the new hall,” he said.

Ms Kealy said people would make good use of the new facility once complete.

“The hall is currently used by a wide-range of groups including the progress association, cricket club, CFA, Pomonal Primary School and Pomonal Community Uniting Church, as well as the Australian Plant Society and Ararat Rural City Council,” she said.

“It also hosts health and fitness programs, neighbourhood safety meetings and is used as a local emergency staging area.

Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner thanked the Ararat Rural City Council for its $400,000 investment towards the project, but saved his biggest praise for the community of Pomonal which raised $100,000 towards the new hall.

“It is one thing for governments, whether they are local, state or federal to invest in projects such as this, but for a community of this size to raise $100,000 towards a new community hall is truly astonishing,” Mr Turner said.

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