EXPRESSIONS of interest are now being sought by the Northern Grampians Shire Council, to determine the most appropriate use for the Halls Gap Hub Precinct.
Council conducted a community information and feedback session in Halls Gap in July, to discuss issues relating to the future use and management of the hub, future management of the Halls Gap Centenary Hall and some design elements relating to the open forecourt area.
The information session was well received by the community, who won praise from councillors for their input.
Following the feedback session, it was resolved by council to acknowledge the feedback provided by the community and to seek expressions of interest from relevant parties for the use and/or lease of the Halls Gap Hub Precinct or parts thereof, to conduct activities or provide services which benefit Halls Gap and the wider region.
It was also moved that officers will now finalise the design of the hub forecourt, taking into account the feedback received from the community and that the works be completed within the limits of the available funding and council's budget.
Council's Director Economic and Community, Jim Nolan, said in relation to management of the precinct, it was suggested that council support an integrated precinct management model to ensure a coordinated and effective approach, given the possible range of uses and activities.
However, he said council could reasonably consider allowing elements of
the precinct to be managed by other parties (mixed management).
"Accepting also that there are a range of possible uses of the facilities, it is suggested that council investigate the nature of interest from community, government and private individual groups by seeking expressions of interest and considering the actual interest," Mr Nolan said.
"Such interest may include visiting professional services, tourism enterprises, or community based organisations which may have an interest in operating/leasing or managing part or whole of the facility."
Mr Nolan said in respect of the Centenary Hall, approximately 41% of respondents supported a similar management arrangement to that which previously existed, while 59% either disagreed or had no comment.
Cr Wayne Rice said he was pleased the community took the opportunity to provide feedback at the session.
"The feedback session really did give the community the opportunity to have input into what they want the hub to be like at the end of the day," he said.
"The community had some serious input into that and I'm quite happy to see this going forward."
Cr Jason Hosemans said he was pleased that council was seeking expressions of interest from a wide range of possible users for the facility.
"There is a range of possibilities in regards to uses of this facility," he said.
"I don't think council should be tied down to having one use in particular. By putting it out to expressions of interest, we can see what's out there, what interest there may or may not be and what potential use and developments can be there. This will ensure we get that space maximised to its full potential.
"We are also in the process of reviewing tourism services, so it's a handy time to be looking at these in conjunction to see what the best way is for these operations to be set up and run."