At the regular Council meeting on July 19, Council will consider a recommendation by Council officers to proceed with the sale of the Rex building in Vincent Street.

The Hepburn Hub at the Rex project was halted by Council in November 2021 because of escalating costs, uncertainty about additional costs and a restricted Council financial position.

The proposed sale has been the subject of a recent community engagement. A recommendation by Council Officers and a summary of the Community Engagement process are available on-line in the Council Agenda for the July meeting.

The Engagement was undertaken by independent consultant, Max Hardy Consulting and included an on-line survey and a “conversation kit” for community groups.

There were 370 responses to the survey from all parts of the Shire. Overall, 66% of respondents were “unsupportive” or “very unsupportive” of the sale and 30% were supportive.

Support for the sale of the Rex varied across the Shire. In Birch Ward, 77% of respondents were opposed to the sale but in Coliban and Creswick wards, more people were supportive of the sale than opposed to it.

It should be noted, that this does not mean that 66% of the community is opposed to the sale of the Rex. The 244 people who registered their opposition in the survey represent about 1.8% of the adult population. Another way of interpreting these results is that 97.3% of the adult population of the Shire did not feel strongly enough about the issue to participate in the survey. More sophisticated survey methods including random sampling and focus groups would be needed to get a true estimate of community feelings.

Other indications of support for retaining the Rex include a petition to retain the cinema in the Rex signed by more than 1,000 people and a  petition signed by 1200 people calling on council to rescind its decision at the November meeting.

Hepburn Matters spokesperson, Jules McDonald, said, ““The Rex is too important to lose – once it is gone, it is gone. When 77% of people responding to the Council survey from the Daylesford and surrounding area (Birch Ward) want The Rex to be retained for community use, it is crucial that Council listens to the passionate views from the community.”

In a separate piece pblished today in The Wombat Post, Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie, has explained the Council position on the proposed sale.

The Council meeting will be held in-person at the Town Hall and streamed on the Council Facebook page. If you want to ask a question or speak to Council about the Rex or any other matters on the Agenda, you need to let Council know by 10am on Monday 18th July.

The Council Agenda and papers are publicly available on the Council website.