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Pavilion upgrade a long time coming

The Moyston Recreation Reserve has been an important focal point and social hub for the Moyston community for decades.

However, the cost of refurbishing the 70-year-old pavillion had been beyond the community. It wasn’t until after the bushfires of the summer of 2005/06 that a funding breakthrough arrived.

According to Anne Marshall, (then) Treasurer of the Moyston Public Parks Committee, an upgrade to the pavilion was identified in the town’s Community Action Plan in 2001.

“A grandstand and kitchen were built in the 1930s, later followed by change rooms,” she said. “In the 70s they put a toilet block and showers on the back and built another room. But we’ve never had enough room for social activities.”

In November 2005, Council flagged $50,000 to carry out the project, on the proviso that a feasibility study was conducted prior to the project’s commencement. An outside consultant initially costed the project at $1 million.

“The community rejected this as we knew we couldn’t come up with our share of that sort of money,” said Anne. “The plans were tweaked and re-costed, but we were still looking at around $960,000.”

Moyston local Andy Couwenberg offered to design a practical and functional renovation plan that would cost in the order of $200,000, which was more in line with what the community could afford.

"I had a call from Lyn Hughes (Regional Development Victoria) who suggested that the Small Towns Development Fund might be able to help fund a project in Moyston to help with bushfire recovery. She offered to help us prepare a submission for the pavilion upgrade.”

The submission was successful and the State Government allocated $154,400, based on the condition that the community provide $6,500 in cash and more than $20,000 of in-kind labour. (In-kind labour actually exceeded $100,000.)

Anne said the Moyston community banded together to renovate the pavilion starting in June 2006 under the careful stewardship of Andy Couwenberg, who had extensive building experience.

“Andy did a lot of the carpentry work, supported by locals,” she said. “We had contractors come in and do various tasks, but the bulk of the work was carried out by volunteers. They worked every weekend for six months without question.”

In this way, the Moyston community completely renovated the building’s interior, constructing new changerooms, tiling the shower areas, installing a disabled toilet, refitting the kitchen and perhaps most importantly, creating a new social room.

The new Moyston Recreation Reserve Pavillion was opened in March 2007.

“This was a good day,” Anne said.

“We now have an excellent social room that seats 130 people. The renovations have really encouraged people out of the woodwork and now we see up to 150 people regularly on a Saturday night. We didn’t really appreciate the difference it would make.”

Anne said the project had rejuvenated the town’s entire football club scene. Even the nearby township of Willaura had called on its neighbor to use the football ground during the 2007 season while their own ground was in drought conditions.

“Even people from other clubs who are looking at upgrading their facilities have come to Moyston to see what we’ve done and how we went about it,” she said.

Moyston Public Parks Committee Secretary Max McLean was responsible for keeping the large project budget on track.

“While Council handled the budget, the committee needed to keep it on track,” he said.

“We had some order books printed so Council had one and we had one. It was a very important step to ensure everything was ordered through the order book. It made it a lot easier for all parties,” he said.

Max said local users of the recreation reserve and the Uniting Care group in Horsham also assisted financially by providing funds to purchase items like tables, chairs and crockery.

“This was appreciated as we didn’t have to worry about extra fund raising and waiting to buy these goods,” he said.

He said the new look pavilion is something the whole community was proud of.

“The first notable change was when the netball girls came inside to relax and socialise. This is something they couldn’t do in previous years.”