Century old hall at risk

Brett Owen is urging Officer residents to get behind the Hall. . 170976_20

By Mitchell Clarke

The 100-year-old Officer Public Hall will permanently close if a new committee isn’t inducted within a week.

As the hall sits on Crown land, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) requires a functioning management committee to keep the hall open.

In a statement, DELWP said the current committee of management has become “unable to function and maintain the hall” and without a functioning committee, they will be forced to close the hall.

Chairman of Officer District Community Association Rob Porter said it would be a terrible shame for the community if the hall was to cease operation.

“I think the whole community is worried about the hall disappearing because it’s the oldest public building in the district,” Mr Porter said.

“It pays its own way. We have some very nice regular people who use the hall, often on a weekly basis.”

The hall is often used by dance classes, theatre groups, religious groups and even for weddings and parties on occasions.

“There’s still a big demand for it and it’s quite reasonably priced to use it,” Mr Porter explained.

“The Officer District Community Association used to hold our meetings there but it got to the point where it was always booked out, it’s still vital.”

Star News understands the hall was maintained by the Van Steensel family, who up until recently also looked after all the bookings and secretarial work.

“Their contribution towards the hall has been magnificent and we couldn’t have run it without them,” he said.

Cardinia Shire councillor Brett Owen is calling on the Officer community, particularly newer residents to put their hand up to join the committee.

“As there are retiring members and a need to form a full and energetic committee, I call upon members of the Officer community to consider putting up their hand, to serve their community so the public hall will continue to be a great place to hold events and provide a great meeting location at a very affordable cost,” Cr Owen said.

“The Officer Public Hall has a long and proud history and one we need to continue to support and ensure community access now and into the future.”

DELWP Regional Manager land and built environment programs Dick Ford said the committee’s term has come to an end and DELWP is seeking new members.

“There is not capacity within the outgoing committee to undertake necessary day-to-day management of the hall, including bookings,” Mr Ford said.

“As such, the hall will not be open for bookings in August and potentially September until a new committee is appointed.”

The Officer Community Association will hold a meeting at the Officer Public Hall on Wednesday 21 August at 7.00pm. Anyone interested in joining the committee is encouraged to attend.

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