Moe precinct funding push

Moe community groups have joined forces in a bid to attract funding for stage two of the town’s revitalisation project.

Stage one, a new library and service centre on George Street, is nearing completion and the groups have begun lobbying local state and federal MPs for support of the next phase.

“This culminated in a recent meeting attended by Committee for Moe, Moe Traders Association, Make Moe Glow, Moe Development Group and our ward councillor, Sharon Gibson,” Committee for Moe member Sue Abbott said.

According to council, further stages of the Moe Rail Precinct Revitalisation Project include changes to car parking, a connection from the rail precinct to the Moe-Yallourn rail trail, a pedestrian shared zone at the intersection of George and Moore streets, a bus interchange and youth precinct along George Street including “a regional level skate park, public parkland and play areas, and open green space”.

The community groups are now seeking to conduct a public consultation session to gauge the views of Moe and district residents on the plans.

“Moe is a town that has the potential to grow and our railway area needs to be able to cope and absorb with more traffic and population growth,” Ms Abbott said.

“So a community assessment of the final stage of works could bring more positive outcomes, and the timing is right to have that discussion.”

Ms Abbott said the issues needing consultation were parking opportunities, the Moore Street shared zone, defining the layout of the youth precinct area and exploring opportunities for the proposed transport – bus and taxi – infrastructure.

“Now that the main building is near completion, it is imperative the entire community has a chance for some input, which is critical for a successful long term outcome,” she said.

In 2013, Latrobe City Council conducted a review of the already-approved Moe revitalisation project, drawing criticism from thousands in the community who wanted it to go ahead unchanged. Council again endorsed the existing plan.

When asked why the community group was considering possible changes to the project now, rather than during the 2013 review process, Ms Abbott said there were fears the review process could have slowed down, or stopped the entire project and they wanted stage one to go ahead.

“We didn’t want to see that be delayed another two- or four-year term,” Ms Abbott said.

The involved community groups will coordinate a community feedback session at the Moe Town Hall on Thursday, 30 June between 4pm and 6pm.

This may form the basis of a community submission to Latrobe City Council.

“We’ll decide after we have that consultation and meet again and talk about where we go from there,” Ms Abbot said.

“People might say ‘we love it as it is’.”

Ms Abbott said the priority was to secure funding as soon as possible and “not derail any potential financial opportunities in order to complete the project in its entirety”.

The doors to Moe’s new service centre and library will open on Monday, 27 June.

Latrobe City mayor Michael Rossiter said the new facility on George Street would offer book-borrowing, a commercial kitchen, gaming consoles, access to wifi, and community meeting rooms.

“Council is challenging the community to start thinking about the possibilities and create a dynamic space that is led and owned by the community,” Cr Rossiter said.

“And when I say ‘community’ I’m not just talking about Moe residents, I’m talking about everyone in Latrobe City – all of us can enjoy and learn in the Moe Service Centre.”

He invited residents to start a community group based on something they were passionate about.

“It could be a regular knitting group in a quiet nook, running a video game tournament in the games room, or taking turns with like-minded people demonstrating your favourite paleo recipe in the kitchen,” Cr Rossiter said.

“It’s your space, so share your ideas with us.”

The $14 million project was jointly funded by Latrobe City Council and the state and federal governments.

The current Moe service centre on Albert Street will close to the public on Friday, 24 June at 5.15pm. The existing library on Kirk Street will close on Wednesday, 22 June at 6pm.