MUCH to the delight of the local community, the Sandy Point Community Centre is now open for business.
The new building, which was constructed to replace the ageing and much smaller T.P. Taylor Hall, received its Certificate of Occupancy the Friday before last.
“We are ecstatic!” said Sally Gibson, who celebrated that night with pizza and drinks along with other present and past members of the T.P. Taylor Reserve Committee of Management who worked so hard for so long to get the project to fruition. Sally handles the bookings and is thrilled to at last have the key to the much-anticipated new centre.
“After 12 frustrating years of plans and surveys and studies, with one step forward and two steps back most of the time, as well as the constant pressure of fundraising, the ‘impossible dream’ has been realised,” she said.
“We had hoped it would be open in time for the Melbourne Cup long weekend, but the certificate came too late for that, arriving only the day before. The sailboarders who had hoped to hold their presentation night in the centre used the surf lifesaving clubrooms instead.”
When ‘The Mirror’ spoke to Sally last Friday, the Foreshore Committee had already held a committee meeting at the community centre and she had bookings several months in advance for three weddings and a 21st birthday party.
A very successful open day was held at the centre on the Sunday of the Cup long weekend, when Sandy Point was buzzing with weekend visitors enjoying the fine conditions. More than 150 people trooped through in admiration.
Local indoor bowls players plan to make use of the centre shortly, delighted with the storage capacity and generous space for bowls games. The Kids’ Club which has been coming to Sandy Point for many years will make use of the centre for a week at the start of January and the annual market will be held at the centre on the first Saturday in January, while the Catholic Church plans to hold Mass in the centre regularly through January when Sandy Point is traditionally packed with holidaymakers.
“We are hoping to have visiting doctors making use of the consulting room at the centre. It is well set up for that purpose,” said Sally. She welcomes enquiries from professionals offering medical and ancillary services such as podiatry wanting to make use of the room.
The main space at the centre is huge, ideal for large functions, and there are good kitchen facilities.
The fees the committee charges for its use will assist in furnishing, equipping and running the centre. The fee structure takes into account whether the users are community groups or private or corporate users.
The committee of management will be applying for a State Government grant to finish off a few jobs around the centre. They need to replace the barbecue which had to be removed during construction, and they have plans for a ‘garden of thanks’ with a surfboard theme as a tribute to the many people who contributed to the multi-million dollar project. They would also like to see new fencing around the tennis courts and shade sails over the playground, which is still under construction, as well as a new basketball ring and half court.
An official opening of the centre, which was funded to a large extent by the Federal Government, will take place some time in the new year.