Site works commenced at Hills Hub, Emerald

Published: 23 February 2018

Site works commenced at the Emerald Hills Hub this month, marking the beginning of the construction phase for the long-awaited $6.63 million development.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Collin Ross said the project would rejuvenate the community space on the corner of Belgrave-Gembrook Road in Emerald and provide a much-needed upgrade to the facilities used by so many dedicated volunteers and community groups.

“This major new community hub will bring a range of existing community groups and activities under one roof. The new building will provide additional multipurpose meeting and activity spaces for community use and give this vibrant Hills community an equally vibrant space to share in and grow,” said Cr Ross.

The project is joint-funded with $4.88 million from Cardinia Shire Council’s Capital Works Program, a grant of $1.5 million under the Australian Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund, and $250,000 from the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Group and Dandenong Ranges Community Bank Group.

The Hills Hub project has been a collaborative effort between Council and the community-established Hills Hub Advisory Committee who have met monthly since February 2015. The advisory group consists of a wide range of stakeholders including facility user groups, representatives from local community groups and organisations, town and sporting committees, and many community members.

Cr Ross said: “Council is grateful to all those in the Hills community who have worked with us to bring the project to this point. We are thrilled to hear the groups that use the facilities here are excited about the changes ahead and what possibilities and opportunities will open up for them and the community when the new building is complete.”

To prepare the site for the construction of the new building, the initial site establishment works involve fencing and signage installation, the identification and safe removal of asbestos from the materials used in the existing building, preparation and commencement of demolition works, and tree protections work with some minor vegetation removal.

“During this first stage of site establishment, there will be a lot happening to prepare the site for construction of the new building. Council will be continuing to work with the advisory group and to communicate with the local community about the progress and any impacts of the project, both in person and online via updates on Council’s website and Facebook page.”

To limit disruptions to nearby facilities and services, Council has also been working closely with the Library, Committee of Management for Worrell Reserve, Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the building contractor to identify transitional solutions for continued access to surrounding sites.

Access to the Library and Worrell Reserve, as a sporting facility and the designated Neighbourhood Safer Place of Last Resort, will continue to be available throughout the project. Additionally, Council has negotiated with the building contractor to employ a staged closure of the car parking spaces closest to the building site, to ensure the maximum amount of parking will be available at each stage of the project.

The Public Transport Victoria bus stop located outside the existing Mechanics’ Hall building will continue to operate from its current location, and Council is erecting two temporary bus shelters alongside the public toilets in lieu of the permanent shelter, which will be incorporated in the new building facade once constructed.

Following the site establishment works, construction is scheduled to commence early this year and will be carried out over approximately 12 months.

More information about this project, including artist impressions, is available for public viewing on Council’s website at www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/hillshub

Interested community members can also continue to stay up-to-date on the Hills Hub project by following Council’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/cardiniashirecouncil) and checking the Latest News on Council’s website (www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/news)