As a resident and business operator for 30 years in Hepburn, I participated in the community plan process recently. It is frustrating to note Hepburn Shire’s own plan mentions community 222 times in a 70 page document yet the implementation of projects such as the cinema and an enhanced library now fall by the wayside.

What has always concerned me is that Daylesford and Hepburn have very limited venues for citizens to cross paths. The Savoia has gone, so has the Old Hepburn Hotel, the Daylesford pubs have very limited spaces for community gatherings. Contrary to some perceptions, Daylesford/ Hepburn is lacking in the amenities available in Clunes, Creswick and soon Trentham.

The cinema has demonstrated more than any other project the capacity to build connections and become a meeting place for a cross-section of our community especially at weekends. We also need a much-enhanced library.

Before the 1994 South African first free Election I worked for the ANC and they had a very successful model of engagement. We could learn from it. It had 3 Steps:-Reports-Problems- SOLUTIONS and I suggest we give it a go, rather than ruling an arbitrary line and refusing to even give a justification.

Let us work together on the SOLUTION. At the moment the community is blindsided and very frustrated.

I have participated in numerous meetings since 2013 on community facilities in Daylesford, including the Rex. Everyone who is interested in this project has their own questions but this drastic step takes us back to 2013 TO START ALL OVER AGAIN.

The Council cannot talk about community and then expect us to be fobbed off by a 4-3 decision rejecting the council officers’ recommendation, with no explanation, and no solution to the pressing needs identified eight years or more ago. Following the decision the December Council meeting dealt with the Notice of Motion in a perfunctory manner but this hasn’t stifled the community concern.

Jenny Beacham

Hepburn Springs