Emerald Library and Mechanics Hall precinct at 400A Belgrave-Gembrook Road, Emerald.
After many years of planning and working with the community, a building contractor has been appointed and site establishment works have begun at Hills Hub.
The Emerald Community Hub will support a range of volunteer and community initiatives. It will bring together community groups and programs including a multi-purpose community space, Emerald U3A, Emerald Men’s Shed, Emerald Toy Library and the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Project group.
The $8.1 million project is being funded by Council ($4.85 million), the Australian Government's National Stronger Regions Fund ($1.5 million), and the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Group and Dandenong Ranges Community Bank Group ($250,000) and Victorian Government's Growing Suburbs Fund ($1.5 million).
Construction works are underway. The ground floor slab and blockwork is complete and steelwork framing has started. Construction is expected to be complete by mid-2019.
Benefits for the community
This project responds to the emerging needs of local residents in Cockatoo, Emerald, Gembrook and surrounding townships.
Consolidating community groups under one roof will better connect people in the community and provide improved access to a range of community activities, including skills-based learning.
Working with the community
Council is pleased to see works underway and acknowledges the community, stakeholders and contributors for their ongoing collaboration and perseverance. In particular, we thank the Advisory Group, who worked diligently to ensure the project moved forward, and the Emerald Mechanics Institute, who have managed programs at the existing hall for the community over the past 25 years.
The Hills Hub has been 3 years in the making and developed in close consultation with the local community.
To ensure the hub reflects the community’s needs, Council and the community established the Hills Hub Advisory Committee. The advisory group consists of a wide range of stakeholders including Emerald Mechanic’s Institute, Emerald Men’s Shed, Emerald University of the Third Age (U3A), the Emerald Village Committee, Worrell Reserve Committee, Puffing Billy Toy Library, Lions and Rotary clubs, and many individual community members. The advisory committee also includes representatives from Eastern Dandenong Ranges Project Group, which the Bendigo Bank has supported with funding for the project.
The advisory group met monthly from February 2015 and started the first phase of the design process. The preferred design concept was endorsed by the community after extensive engagement and consultation.