PERHAPS the main thing that was achieved at a community meeting in Korumburra last week, to consider how best to use the town’s railway station buildings, is that there’s considerable interest in the issue.
Around 50 people turned out at the meeting convened by the South Gippsland Shire Council in the senior citizens clubrooms, with a workshop of community suggestions facilitated by shire officers Ned Dennis, Chris Van Der Ark and Barbara Look.
The problem of what to do with the Korumburra Railway Station buildings has only come to light as a result of the demise of South Gippsland Tourist Rail, which has up until now taken responsibility for maintaining and managing the facility.
According to the council, these buildings may be made available for public community use through an agreement with VicTrack if a suitable proposal and business case is put forward.
The future use of the rail yards and rail track areas are not under discussion at this stage.
“There is the opportunity for a mixture of community and commercial uses to be considered. The more ideas we get the better the outcomes,” said the council’s manager of Sustainable Communities Ms Van Der Ark.
Community members at the meeting had a broad range of ideas but they stressed first that arrangements for the basic maintenance and security of the buildings must be made.
They also expressed concern about an ongoing funding source for the facility, noting that if Victrack wished to maintain ownership of the facility, for possible future rail purposes, they needed to be prepared to contribute to the upkeep of the facility.
A range of community and commercial uses was suggested for the buildings but there was a general feeling that the area needed to be opened up to the Korumburra CBD for its future viability.
Use by V/Line as a bus stop, visitor car parking, for community meetings and events were all discussed.
Should the council eventually move to sell its former shire offices and library to a supermarket developer, the railway station buildings are seen as providing the meeting rooms and some other aspects of what will be lost as a result.
The shire is trying to make it a condition of the sale of the library, if this does occur in the future, that a new library be part of the supermarket and shopping centre redevelopment.
As a result of the meeting, an advisory committee was formed to meet with the shire with the aim of developing a business and master plan for the use of the railway buildings.