WITH the launch of its new Community Directions Plan this week, the Korumburra Round Table group has upped the ante on the South Gippsland Shire Council to bring forward a range of projects to revitalise the town.
And they say the time is right for such a “strategic intervention” in the town’s future, to build on the recent opening of the $5.3 million Karmai Community Children’s Centre and strong housing growth in the town.
The councillors were given a preview of the Community Directions Plan at a public presentation session last week when round table representatives, Jenny Keerie and Tony Parisi, addressed the meeting.
“Korumburra has an important role to play in the growth and prosperity of the shire, especially given its proximity to the expanding eastern suburbs of Melbourne,” Ms Keerie said.
She said there were presently 4373 residents in the town, 8962 in the immediate surrounding area and a growth rate of 48 new houses a year.
But, said Ms Keerie, the physical conditions in the town’s CBD were proving detrimental to retail and commercial businesses, making it vital that the shire implement its streetscape redevelopment at its earliest possible opportunity.
Implementation of the streetscape plan is the round table’s top priority and it seems that the proposal has plenty of support around the council’s own table.
Ms Keerie said the plan would be formally presented to the round table committee and the community this Thursday, seeking further feedback.
“At the opening of the Karmai Community Children’s Centre last week, which was a great community event, Federal MP Russell Broadbent used the term ‘strategic intervention’, as the term to describe what a small group of Korumburra people achieved there with the support of the shire, Mr Broadbent, Danny O’Brien and others,” Ms Keerie said.
“That’s what Korumburra needs now, strategic intervention, action to retain the momentum that we already have now,” she said.
It’s why the council should be bringing forward the streetscape revitalisation, the railway station and railway precinct redevelopment, the community hub project and others, to take Korumburra’s growth to a new level.
“This will set this town up for the future,” Ms Keerie said.
“We appreciate that everything can’t be done at once but these initiatives have been put out to the community already and they have the community’s support.”
The final report, only just completed after months of community consultation, is going out to the community for comment this week.
Cr Andrew McEwen, a regular at the Korumburra Round Table Committee meetings, was fully supportive.
“That’s a wonderful presentation. We’re experiencing some challenging times as a result of what’s happening in the dairy industry, which is why it’s vital that we make progress with the revitalisation projects in Leongatha and Korumburra. These are coming on at the right time for the local economy,” he said.
“To me the railway station revitalisation and streetscape project would be an ideal way to set Korumburra up for the future.”
“One of the best things about our engagement with the various organisations in the town is that we can see the potential for what is already happening in Korumburra and why it’s vitally important that we support what’s happening to make Korumburra grow with action now.”
No doubt the pitch from the Korumburra Round Table was an effort to influence the shire’s new budget and council plan, both of which will be presented to the next meeting of council this Wednesday at 2pm.
In its draft stages, however, there appears to be no willingness on the part of the shire council to bring forward any of its Korumburra initiatives.