Car park push for Memorial Square

Colac RSL would consider fencing the city's war memorial.

COLAC RSL would consider fencing the city’s war memorial and let the community decide on building a car park at Memorial Square.

Colac resident Rod Barrow contacted The Colac Herald this week to suggest the square was ideal for parking and said a fence would solve vandalism issues.

Colac RSL president Reg O’Reilly said the RSL was not concerned about car parking and future use of the square but wanted to protect the war memorial.

Mr Barrow’s call for a central car parking solution was sparked by a consultant’s study proposal to turn the $1-million Civic Home Hardware site in Railway Street into car parking.

Mr Barrow said the building should be left for a new business venture and new jobs, but Colac Otway Shire Council could build a new car park at Memorial Square.

“Even if it was done to only half, the Melbourne side of the square, it would be an outstanding improvement,” he said.

Mr Barrow said businesses would benefit because more visitors and buses would stop at the square in central Colac.

“People will stop for food, stretch their legs by having a walk around the shops and the kids can have a play.”

Mr Barrow also said the memorial should have a fence and gate to stop vandalism.

“If people travelling through want a closer look they could get a key from the RSL club, which is open long hours or maybe it could be open during the day and closed at night,” he said.

“It doesn’t have to be an awful fence, it could be a nice one with a garden around it and it can protect our beautiful shrine.

“We are the custodians of the memorial but the rest is a park for people to use,” he said.

“Inside the memorial is sacred. It’s up to the council and the people what they do with the park.”

Mr O’Reilly said Colac police had suggested fencing the memorial to protect it from vandalism.

He said he did not want a fence around the monument but he would take the issue to the next RSL committee meeting.

“I can see the point but when people come through Colac that’s what they want to see and if you lock it away then it’s not the same,” Mr O’Reilly said.

“It’s just a pity people don’t have more respect for it.”

The Department of Sustainability and Environment owns Memorial Square, but the council manages the site.

The square has been home to the Colac Bowling Club, Colac library, Colac Visitor Information Centre caravan, band rotundas and hosted many events in its 147-year history.

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