A former Newborough business has been able to keep its doors open thanks to combined community efforts.
Motorcycle training provider Quality Motorcycle Training was faced with closure after the owner of its former site made a commercial decision not to renew the lease.
Quality Motorcycle Training is the only accredited VicRoads provider of motorcycle training from Dandenong to Bairnsdale and has been operating for more than a year.
Due to the nature of the service the business was providing, a new location was required to meet very specific parameters set out by VicRoads and Latrobe City Council, which proved to be quite difficult to satisfy.
Business owners Geoff and Marie Gunn previously told The Express if a suitable location could not be found prior to Christmas, the business would have to close its doors.
But following community efforts to identify a suitable new location, as well as Member for Morwell Russell Northe raising the issue in state Parliament, a new location out of Yallourn was identified and the Gunns are already hoping to expand the business.
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for [the new site owner] because he stepped forward and said ‘I’ve got a facility at a reasonable cost’. We would have closed, that is the reality, we were running out of time,” Ms Gunn said.
“We had approvals from VicRoads and [Latrobe City] council, all going out of their way to help us move quickly.”
Mr Gunn said a new training pad had been installed to turn the site into a “purpose-built cycle facility”.
“We have still got all our staff and I’ve actually got another one in training. So we are trying to increase that capacity. We’re hoping there will be growth,” he said.
“Without the support of Russell Northe and the support through government, it might not have gone ahead.”
Mr Northe said it was “wonderful” to see the collective efforts of “quite a few people” result in a new location for the business.
“I think more importantly it not only retains local jobs but it is also a critical service in terms of road safety and without it, people who want to get their learners permit on a motorcycle would have to travel far away from the region to get their permit or licence. So it is a critical service in the Valley,” he said.
“I’m sure a lot of people outside of the Valley will be looking at this site as the destination to do their motorcycle training, so it is a real positive coup, particularly when a few months ago, it was possible the [business] would close altogether.”
“There have been a lot of community efforts to in trying to identify a site and location, myself personally being able to contact VicRoads and state government departments and agencies, who have been helpful.”