WODONGA Brass Band has to vacate its home of almost half a century to enable another stage in the city’s redevelopment to unfold.
The band hall will be bulldozed to allow for an extension of South Street to Havelock Street near the recently opened Huon Hill tavern.
Member for Benambra Bill Tilley revealed in the Victorian Parliament last week the band, Albury-Wodonga Theatre Company and Wodonga’s men’s shed had joined forces to develop a new home on Crown land somewhere in the city.
Mr Tilley has invited the Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith to Wodonga to meet representatives from the three organisations about a future home.
“They have put together a proposal that would provide an important not-for-profit community arts hub or incubator entertainment facility comprising of a small auditorium, brass band and theatre company rehearsal rooms, a men’s shed that will also provide theatre props, a low-cost periodic rehearsal space for other bands, a low-cost community meeting space and associated amenities,” Mr Tilley said.
“Initial discussions about realising the potential of the facility have taken place.
“There is a real possibility of a retail tenant to create a regular revenue stream to assist with the running costs of such a facility.
“This business provides music lessons to over 180 students and has a strong identity in the region.”
Wodonga Brass Band moved to the site in June 1967 and in the 1980s a public appeal called for materials, labour and finance for the addition of a rehearsal room.
It was opened in October 1982 and the band has 48 members ranging in age from 15 to 84 years.
Albury-Wodonga Theatre Company has been in existence for more than 40 years and is located in rented premises on the Lincoln Causeway.
“The Albury-Wodonga Theatre Company is a not-for-profit group run 100 per cent by local volunteers,” Mr Tilley said.
Wodonga men’s shed group has 60 members and has been trying to find permanent premises for two years.
A total of $200,000 of philanthropic funding is available for a combined facility if a site can be found.
No deadline has been set for when the band hall will need to be vacated.
Wodonga Council chief executive Patience Harrington said eight options for future homes including Silva Drive pre-school, Felltimber community centre and Baranduda Hall had been put forward.