THE long-awaited upgrade of the Yanakie Recreation Reserve and Yanakie Community Hall is set to become a reality over the next year, with a funding injection of $400,000.
Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan visited Yanakie last Friday to announce to delighted members of the Yanakie community, including the rec reserve and hall committee, that the government would be investing $300,000 from its Regional Growth Fund in the project. South Gippsland Shire Council will contribute a further $90,000 and the Yanakie Recreation Reserve and Hall Committee is chipping in $10,000.
Mr Ryan, who is Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Minister for State Development, said that having grown up in a small rural community himself (Lockington) he appreciated the fundamental part played by a local hall in the community it serves, as a venue for meetings and functions.
He said the recreation reserve was already a centre of community activity, due to its sporting facilities, which include tennis courts.
“Yanakie is often the last rest stop for tourists on their way to or from Wilsons Prom,” Mr Ryan said. “As well as providing much better facilities for the locals, this project will make the area a much more inviting place for tourists to stop, rest, and spend money in local shops, which are only a short walk away.”
The project scope includes the replacement of the toilet block, playground and rotunda; new park seating; the removal of cypress trees; connecting pathways within the reserve, road works and general landscaping.
With assistance from Parks Victoria, an information board and shelter will be constructed. The hall will get a new hot water system and reverse cycle air conditioning system and the exit doors will be replaced.
Mr Ryan said the project would be managed by South Gippsland Shire Council and importantly, local contractors would be engaged for all works, so the money invested flows through to the local community.
Shire Asset Technical Officer Jesse Joyce, who will be working on the project, said he expected it would begin shortly with a call for tenders.
It is due to be completed by July 2015.
“This is a classic case of your taxes and rates at work,” the mayor, Cr James Fawcett, cheerily told those members of the Yanakie community present for the funding announcement.
He conceded that the committee must have wondered if the project would ever happen, saying “these things take a long time”, and praised them for never giving up and raising the $10,000 to contribute to the project.
Cr Mohya Davies said that the upgrade had been a dream of the Yanakie community for as long as she has been a councillor – six years. “This is a real case of the planning process ensuring a successful outcome,” she said.
She pointed out that the case for a grant from the government to upgrade the reserve was strengthened enormously once the rec reserve committee had had a master plan drawn up, with the help of a community grant, setting out what needed to be done.
“This is a very special day,” said the president of the recreation reserve and hall committee, Greg Cook. “The reserve has always been the heart of this area.”
He thanked the state and local government representatives for their “overwhelming” contribution to the upgrade, as well as Shire Grants Officer Penni Ellicott, hall committee members and the wider Yanakie community.
Mr Cook said that the committee had managed to raise the $10,000 it was contributing through a variety of means, including catering for the campdrafts which were held two or three times a year at the reserve and hiring out the hall and/or the settlers’ hut for functions.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien was also at last Friday’s funding announcement. He said The Nationals had driven the creation of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to invest in projects such as this.
“The Regional Growth Fund is investing in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Since it was established in 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has delivered more than $400 million, generating around $1.6 billion of total investment across more than 1500 projects.
“In South Gippsland Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has invested $13.1 million into 34 projects which are worth a total of $59.3 million of investment to the local community.
“For example, the Regional Growth Fund invested $2 million into the $2.9 million Great Southern Rail Trail Extension (Foster to Welshpool); $1.5 million for the $21.9 million Burra Foods, Infant Formula Water Initiatives, and $1.5 million for the $22 million Murray Goulburn, Leongatha Site and Energy Infrastructure Project.”