THE alarm bells are ringing up at the Korumburra railway precinct after Victrack advised the Railway Station Working Group recently that it had withdrawn its offer of upwards of $1 million towards the railway station restoration and community use project.
News of the decision by Victrack was released at the Korumburra Round Table meeting last week during a discussion about progress, or lack of it, on all aspects of the railway precinct project; including the proposed Korumburra Community Hub, Railway Station restoration, skate park, rail trail extension and general precinct layout and access works.
It has been suggested that all aspects of this project will cost upwards of $10 million to complete and will rely heavily on State Government grants.
But the sticking point is, and always has been, the prospect of getting a long-term lease on the railway land.
The shire has still not been able to stitch up a lease with the State Government or the body which manages the state-owned rail infrastructure, Victrack.
And even if a lease was available, there has been talk of periods under 20 years, no longer in case rail services should ever return to the South Gippsland line, and this would be nowhere near enough for the State Government to commit millions of dollars in grant funding.
It is all becoming too hard to establish a new Community Hub, to house the new Korumburra Library, community meeting room and other needed community facilities on the railway land and it’s time for the shire and its soon-to-be-appointed administrators to shift gear.
The other complicating factor is whether or not the proposed new supermarket will ever go ahead in the Korumburra CBD, impacting the shire’s present location on the corner of Commercial and King streets.
Here’s what should happen:
1. The shire should select a new site for the Korumburra Community Hub away from the railway land
2. It should clear the way for a future supermarket development in Commercial Street by reopening negotiations with Michaels IGA and vacating its own premises
3. And it should concentrate on extending the rail trail to Korumburra and finding a suitable location for the skatepark.
All money being spent (wasted?) on planning and designing (?) the community hub and overall layout of the railway precinct should cease until there is clarity on the above points.