People power saves Mahogany Creek hall from wrecking ball

Spokesperson Jack Satchell (front) and other residents saved their local hall from the wrecking ball. Photo: Bruce Hunt
Spokesperson Jack Satchell (front) and other residents saved their local hall from the wrecking ball. Photo: Bruce Hunt

MAHOGANY Creek residents have won a hard-fought battle to save their hall from demolition by gaining support to lease the building from the Shire of Mundaring and manage the facility themselves.

The Shire originally slated the building for the wrecking ball as part of a proposal to minimise rate increases by reducing or axing services.

However, in July councillors voted for no action to be taken over the hall before January 24 this year.

The temporary reprieve gave Mahogany Creek Progress Association (MCPA) about six months to develop a business case and garner the support of villagers.

One public meeting at the hall attracted more than 100 people and led to a series of ‘save our hall’ community workshops organised by MCPA secretary Anna Marie.

Letters of support about the community’s effort to save the hall were sent to the Shire by local politicians Ken Wyatt and Matthew Hughes.

The MCPA business case to manage the hall was considered by councillors on Tuesday with an officer’s recommendation to negotiate a lease agreement.

Cr Doug Jeans presented a variation on some of the terms in the proposal and councillors voted on each one.

An option was lost to place in trust the $30,000 allocated in the Shire budget to demolish the hall.

Councillors voted for a report to be presented to Council should the community group’s model at any point be deemed unviable or the lease terminated or not extended by the Shire.

The community group will be expected to contribute up to $500 a year or 50 per cent of costs, whichever is the lesser, to assist in making Mahogany Creek toilets available for public use.

Mahogany Creek hall was built and opened in 1955, run by the community until the Shire took ownership in the 1980s.

One of the men to help build the hall was Merv Dent.

His daughter Lorraine Williams said the facility provided a much-needed meeting place for the use of young and old residents.

“We continued as a young group and raised and built the tennis courts. Mahogany Creek hall and tennis courts are the centre of Mahogany Creek,” she said.

“It is important for our community to have this area that identifies us as a locality.”

Vice-president of MCPA Kara Powell said the hall was a hub where local people could come together and the community was delighted with the outcome.

Other buildings leased to community groups at no cost to the Shire include the management of Chidlow Hall by the Chidlow Progress Association since 2014.

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