News

Finley Hall takes next steps

By Daniel Hughes

New amenities are the talk of the town as progress is made on the Finley War Memorial Hall and its neighbouring building the Finley School of Arts, despite protest.

Over the last few weeks the buildings have made a giant leap towards re-opening as scheduled with Berrigan Shire Council starting the construction of the amenities blocks attached to the School of Arts.

‘‘It’s taken such a long time to get everything moving forward and now that it has, we’ll be able to reopen the hall and have people using it again before the end of this year,’’ Mayor Matthew Hannan said.

However, many in the community say the construction should halt, and await different plans that some view as more aesthetic to complement the historic buildings.

Save the Finley War Memorial Hall president Patricia Boyd believes that the plans are ‘‘revenge’’ by council in retaliation to her construction ideas that were rejected, but hopes that perseverance will prevail with her case.

“They’ve added the renovations as payback at us for trying to preserve the building,” she said.

“We’ve taken our plans to Echuca to get evaluated and we will go to council with a rock solid plan and a costing report.

“We plan to push and push until we get it.

“In the coming weeks I intend calling a big public meeting to get the whole community behind this.”

Cr Hannan said understands the concerns being raised by members of the community but also knows that progress must be made if these facilities want to improve and be accessible to the community.

“When doing modern day redevelopments on older buildings it can never be like for like, but let’s see what it looks like after the painting is finished,” he said.

“I just think we need to let the redevelopments finish.

“It’s taken such a long time to get everything moving forward and now that it has, we’ll be able to reopen the hall and have people using it again before the end of this year.

“It hasn’t had functional amenities for a while so we’ll have brand new working bathrooms.”

If the project continues as planned, the council is hoping to have the facilities up and running for the community by November or December.