Groups to have free access to former library space

Community groups will be able to book the former Colac library annexe at no charge with a possibility that the space could eventually become part of Colac’s arts precinct.

Community groups will be able to book the former Colac library annexe at no charge with a possibility that the space could eventually become part of Colac’s arts precinct.

Colac Otway Shire councillors unanimously voted against an officer recommendation that council retain the former annexe as a council administration meeting venue.

A report included in Wednesday’s meeting agenda said councillors “agreed that the annexe be refurbished to accommodate meetings and a further council report be prepared”.

Cr Chris Smith said that his understanding was that councillors had indicated during a briefing in January that councillors were opposed to the former annexe becoming a room specifically for the council.

“That’s different to the interpretation that was given to me,” the officer said, before Cr Jason Schram moved an alternative motion to allow community groups free access to the soon-to-be refurbished room.

“It’s always been community use, we did get submissions and we did get people say they wanted it,” Cr Schram said.

He said community groups could use it, the council could hire it out as an income stream if the community hadn’t booked it, but it didn’t “close the door” on the council building a hallway to link it with COPACC.

“I hope the community sees this as a good compromise,” Cr Schram said.

Cr Stephen Hart, who had pushed for community consultation on the room’s future use more than 12 months ago, seconded the motion and said the he supported the annexe continuing to be a community space, particularly with the option that it could become part of the COPACC precinct.

Councillors Kate Hanson and Chris Smith also spoke in support of a free meeting space for the community and eventually a link with the arts centre.

Cr Smith said he wanted to see doors from the annexe providing access to COPACC “sooner raher than later” and that he would “certainly be advocating that the whole building goes back to the community”.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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