Dear Editor,

The Sale of the Rex Theatre in Daylesford  requires Community Consultation but the Timeline is too Short!!!

Hepburn Shire Council Officers were directed by Councillors to design this Community Consultation in November 2021. The process was announced on 27th April 2022 with responses required by 20th May. This is less than a month for responses whereas Council took 5 months to design the process!

The information provided by Council does not include the possibilities that have already been suggested to Council such as subdivision, selling with conditions for community use for part of the building, selling with conditions around leasing part of the building for community use and private sale of part of the building to pay for or contribute to the cost of redevelopment.

The information does not include possible community use of the building other than those included in the original Hepburn Hub concept. Further, the information is inaccurate as it does not include the Council plan to include the cinema which although not included in the original plan for the Rex was quickly included as a result of a huge community outcry.

A radically altered plan for the building with the community space excluding the back area which has problems with damp and drainage will be significantly less costly than the original council plan. The responses sought do not include an option for people to recommend halting the sale pending further exploration of the viability of alternatives currently being explored.

Had the consultation been codesigned as requested by the ‘Rethink the Rex’ group, this option would have been included. It appears this questionnaire has been developed to produce the answer council is seeking, that is to sell the Rex.

Jules McDonald
Convenor ‘Rethink the Rex’ community group