Goulburn Mulwaree Council is moving its community services and youth programs to new premises in the former Huntley Arcade.
Councillors resolved at their March 20 meeting to to enter into a five-year lease for the building in Auburn St.
The move came after considering other options, such as moving the services into Workspace 2580, but this was deemed to have insufficient space or room for expansion.
The move will happen over the next few months, following the start of work on the Performing Arts Centre at the McDermott Centre.
Councillors have welcomed the move, saying the lease would allow security for the groups until a new building was built.
Mayor Bob Kirk was pleased to have found a new, permanent home for the community services.
“Behind the scenes staff have inspected a number of properties around Goulburn and I am pleased with the new location chosen,” Cr Kirk said at the meeting.
“It is well positioned within the CBD, has access to public transport and needs minimal work to allow relocation of our services.
“A five-year lease will also give the services stability with their location. Council has discussed construction of a new purpose built community centre as a long term priority and with this lease in place we can now focus on planning for this project.”
Cr Margaret O’Neill also welcomed the move.
“It’s a great idea because we need somewhere for people with disabilities and all the services at the McDermott Centre,” she said.
Councillors toured Workspace 2580 on March 20 to assess whether it was suitable, with Goulburn Mulwaree general manager Warwick Bennett saying it was agreed by councillors that it was of limited size and would barely fit community services there, let alone expand youth and other services in the future.
“If council is serious about supplying the full range of services and a centre for youth, I really don’t believe Workspace 2580 is of sufficient area and feasibility,” Mr Bennett said.
He said Workspace was also looking at expanding given the high demand for its services. He suggested to Workspace that it could apply to council to increase its space there.
Cr Peter Walker supported the idea, saying U3A alone had 300 members and ran numerous courses every week. They needed a separate facility.
Cr Kirk replied that council recognised the need to find them “new digs” when they and other groups moved out of the Bourke St depot.
Cr Walker asked whether there was any money available to help U3A set up in a new place, to which Mr Bennett said no.
“The National Stronger Regions fund is only for infrastructure projects and not for set-ups,” Mr Bennett said.
He said there would be a report to the next council meeting on possible grant opportunities to build a new community services centre in the future.
The annual rent for use of the centre will be $140,000 plus GST and outgoings. The services and groups will move to the new location in June 2018, with the McDermott Centre to be fully vacated by June 30.
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