THE Korumburra business community faces a bright future despite the challenges of COVID-19, according to the Korumburra Business Association (KBA).

Speaking at the KBA’s delayed annual general meeting last week, president Noelene Cosson said the committee continued to be active, meeting via Zoom, and taking an active position on the hub development, Little Commerical Street redesign, Commercial Street streetscape, the railway parking area, skate park and rail trail extension.

She said social media played a major role in communications as it was an effective and cheap way to circulate and promote information via the KBA’s Facebook and Instagram presence.

Ms Cosson’s report focused on the 12 months to the scheduled date of the AGM before she went on to speak about the nine months since.

“Korumburra is buzzing again after literally looking like a ghost town back there in the last week of March when we were shut down,” she said.

“It was just such a sombre look and it looked like the life had been sucked out of our town. We’ve now passed that point and hopefully never to go back again.

“Our town’s really going ahead in leaps and bounds. We’ve welcomed so many new businesses, it’s just phenomenal.”

She said Korumburra was on the cusp of a huge redevelopment phase with projects that would deliver a massive injection of infrastructure and funds into Korumburra and set the town up for the next 20 years or so.

She said the various works would be inconvenient at times but “we really do have to go through some pain for some long-term gain”.

“Korumburra is well overdue for an injection of funds, particularly in the streetscape, and we’ve been working closely with the shire for the best outcomes we can achieve, not only for our business owners, but also for our customers and our visitors.”

Looking ahead, Ms Cosson said a $10,000 grant from Business Victoria would be used to advertise Korumburra on Win TV and a grant from South Gippsland Shire Council would be used to create temporary outdoor dining areas.

She said the business association was also taking an active interest in Coal Creek Community Park and Museum because they felt the park’s potential was not being recognised and it could be a much bigger drawcard for the area.

Retiring committee member Gil Freeman moved a vote of thanks to Ms Cosson for looking after the interests of the KBA and her role as president.

Ms Cosson was re-elected as president, along with secretary Shirley Arestia, treasurer Kelly Hughes and vice-president Kate Murphy.

They were joined by new committee members, Michelle Beggs, Peter Snow and Jennifer Keary.

Guest speaker

South Gippsland Shire Council chief executive Kerryn Ellis gave the meeting an update on the key projects for the town.

She said the detailed car park design for the railway area was progressing, however, due to heritage protections and zoning, a planning permit was required and an application would be made in the next couple of weeks.

The works will be put out to tender immediately after the permit is received.

The planning permit will also cover the skate park, which will also be tendered.

“Council is also working with track heritage consultants and landscaping consultants on plans for improving the rest of the rail yard and also converting that to public space,” Ms Ellis said.

Other project updates:

• Design work is continuing to maximise the number of parking spaces in the Little Commercial Street project. Detailed design and construction will follow the railway land car park works.

• Detailed design for the Korumburra Community Hub is complete, however, the planning permit application is subject to an application to VCAT. A hearing is listed for July, but Ms Ellis said council was hopeful it could be resolved before then via negotiation.

• Design and construction of the Commercial Street streetscape will follow the Little Commercial Street works. Ms Ellis said the option of undergrounding the power was being “explored actively” but there was no budget allocated for this yet.

• Eight buildings were open in Coal Creek (prior to the current lockdown), virtual education services were open to schools across Australia and four schools had already booked for onsite education lessons.

A wedding has been booked for this month, but the Easter hunt and literary festival will become online events.

Ms Ellis said timeframes on those projects have slipped a little from previously advised but she still expected works would be well underway during 2021.