Council eyes future of Coal Creek

THE vexed question of what to do with Coal Creek Community Park and Museum at Korumburra returned to the council chamber last Wednesday.
South Gippsland Shire councillors took part in a workshop to discuss ideas for the future direction of the park, which people tend to either adore or believe costs council too much money, mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt said.
Council will spend $412,994 on Coal Creek during 2018-19, towards keeping the park operating.
The park is a replica village of life in South Gippsland from the 1870s to 1920s, and is run by council staff and volunteers, used by community groups and houses a significant collection of artefacts.
In recent years, Coal Creek, through park coordinator Rowena Ashley, has held successful and unique events that have drawn visitors from across South Gippsland and beyond. The most recent such event, a heritage craft day on August 5, was well attended and featured rides on the steam train, Count Strzelecki.
Councillors are expected to receive a report about possible opportunities for Coal Creek from council officers at a future meeting.
Cr Brunt said while the current events and activities at the park were supported, she hinted at the prospect of change at the park.
“When you stay stagnant, these places, they lose their appeal,” she said.
Cr Brunt said the council officers’ report would “put some options on the table”.
“Should we be doing more events or less events, or should we be looking at whether we back it up with more money or put in less money,” she said.
The prospect of a school camp in the lower section of the park has been discussed for many years, but has not progressed further.
That is something Cr Don Hill would like to change.
“It is possible to develop a school camp in conjunction with private industry and raise a sizable sum for ratepayers without cutting services,” he said.
“I believe there is support to investigate this proposal.”
Cr Brunt said while Coal Creek was a service council provided, it was “not a money making feature” and volunteers, who run such attractions as a general store at the park, were stretched.
“It’s deciding what Coal Creek is, whether it is a park or a museum,” she said.
“A lot of our community uses it and it is a pleasant place. It’s kept in such a pristine condition.
“We have to get it known more as a community asset right across the shire and encourage people from across the shire to use it.
“But with things like swimming pools, it does cost money.”
As for the amount of funding council gives to Coal Creek, the mayor said, “We’ve pulled it back as far as we can without impacting the safety of the facility and keeping with occupational health and safety standards.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25657

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