Management of hall seized by Council

The interior of the newly-renovated Point Clare HallThe interior of the newly-renovated Point Clare Hall

Management of the Point Clare Community Hall has been awarded to Wyoming Community Centre following an expression of interest process by Central Coast Council.

The hall had been under the management of the Point Clare Community Hall Association, which was incorporated in the early 2000s to take care of the hall. Central Coast Council recently completed renovations at the hall, which were funded via an interest free state government loan. “We had the official opening when the renovations were completed, and within a week after that, we received an email to say we would have to apply by an expression of interest to run the place,” said Point Clare Community Hall Association member, Mr Robert Findley.

According to Mr Findley, the hall had been managed by a Section 355 Committee of Gosford Council from the late 1960s until 2000. “Then the rules changed, and we were told by council that we had to stand alone, so we set up our own incorporated association to run the hall,” he said. “Then in July of this year, we were virtually told our services were no longer required. “The organisation is gone, it is fi nished, and our community is up in arms,” he said.

“This council has put a knife in the community’s back and council staff have been very antagonistic,” he said.

Upon announcing that it had been appointed by the Central Coast Council to manage the hall, the Wyoming Community Centre posted on a new Point Clare Community Hall Facebook page that the hall had “been a significant part of the local community for many years and has been managed by a wonderful group of volunteers, the Point Clare Community Hall Association. “A huge vote of thanks to all of the wonderful people who have been part of this group.

“However, things change, and from mid July, Wyoming Community Centre will be taking over the management of the hall. “There will be no change to existing arrangements and we look forward to working with the local community to raise awareness of the issues that matter to you,” the new facebook page stated. Executive offi cer of the Wyoming Community Centre, which has been rebranded Gosford Regional Community Services, Ms Kathy Sokk, said the organisation was very happy to be chosen to manage the Point Clare Hall and it was a “very good fit for us”.

Ms Sokk said the hall would continue to be used by Brisbane Water Dance, a play group and the Koolewong to Point Clare-Tascott Progress Association Inc, which had been using other venues for its meetings during renovation. Ms Sokk said an open day was being held at the hall on August 13 to reintroduce the facility to the community. “We are trying to get a book group going and have an art show,” she said. “We are aiming to keep prices low for small community groups who can’t afford to pay for other community spaces such as those made available in clubs,” she said.

Ms Sokk said the new management would work with community groups and support those who had programs or services that would be of value to the community. Mr Findley said he had doubts as to whether Central Coast Council did, in fact, own the hall. “The land was dedicated to the community in 1903 and the original hall was built in 1915,” Mr Findley said. “It was handed over to the council by the department of lands in the late 1960s, but I want to find out what right the department of lands had to hand it over when the land didn’t belong to them in the first place,” he said. “Recently the hall has undergone some extensive renovations”, Ms Sokk said. “With these recent changes, we felt it was an ideal time for local residents to come and check out the newly renovated hall facilities.

“These facilities are available to community, individuals and interest groups for function and meeting hire. “Brisbane Water Dance school will be demonstrating their skills and there will be information from a range of community organisations including the Koolewong to Point Clare-Tascott Progress Association. “Of course, there will be the obligatory sausage sizzle.” Vice president of the Koolewong to Point Clare-Tascott Progress Association, Mr Ken Janson, said the progress association considered the hand over of the hall’s management “an excellent thing” “Ms Sokk has got paid people who can manage the bookings and keep everything centralised,” he said.

According to Mr Janson, the new management structure will make it easier for community groups to access the hall. “Because we have a role within the community we will only have to pay a very small amount to use the hall and we are a very busy and active group so we are very pleased we can now use the hall,” he said. Mr Janson said the progress association would be holding its fi rst meeting in the Point Clare Community Hall on Thursday, August 11 with a guest speaker from NSW Roads and Maritime Services regarding the future of Brisbane Water Dve.

Media release, Aug 8, 2016 Kathy Sokk, Gosford Regional Community Services Interview, Aug 8, 2016 Kathy Sokk, Gosford Regional Community Services Interview, Aug 8, 2016 Robert Findley, Point Clare Interview, Aug 9, 2016 Ken Janson, Koolewong to Point Clare-Tascott Progress Association Jackie Pearson, journalist