Community centre lobbies in a bid to save historic building

YARRAVILLE Community Centre is running a postcard petition across the western suburbs to focus political attention on the potential closure of the centre.
Christine McCall, the centre manager, said petitioning was the first stage in their lobbying of the State Government.
The postcards are addressed to City of Maribyrnong councillors and the printed message reads: “Don’t let the community centre building go on the scrap heap.
“Please find the funds so it can survive the next 120 years.
“Don’t let 120 years of community service turn to dust.”
The council had received 282 postcards by last Wednesday.
A total of 182 postcards were from local residents and 100 from suburbs outside Maribyrnong, such as Williamstown, Spotswood and Altona.
Ms McCall said the lobbying would include the distribution of pro-forma letters, which would be addressed to Maribyrnong City Council.
“We’ll also circulate a petition to be signed and sent to the State Government,” she said.
Ms McCall intends to print postcards addressed to the State Member for Yarraville, Steve Bracks, and Victorian Communities Minister John Thwaites. They will carry the same message as the one sent to councillors.
“I think if the building was left vacant and boarded up it would be vandalised,” Ms McCall said.
“The building behind us was burnt out and vandalised- it was the former Yarraville State School that was left vacant for about eight years.”
The Yarraville Community Centre site was first established as a school in 1889, the building was taken over by the centre in 1976.
An independent report commissioned by the council found the building had a number of structural problems, such as an unstable front wall, cracking, uneven floors and falling plasterwork.
The building is owned by the State Government and the council predicts that $3 to $5 million is needed to bring it up to scratch.
The council has previously put $615,000 into maintaining the building.
Another $843,000 is earmarked by the council to be spent on upgrades to the site over the next three years.

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