Berrigan Shire moves to proceed with plan for Finley School of Arts and Finley War Memorial Hall

The buildings' annex
The buildings' annex

A PLAN to redevelop the Finley War Memorial Hall and School of Arts is to proceed, despite claims that it will lead to “further division and conflict”.

Berrigan Council this week voted to support what is known as “Option 3” which involves an annex between the buildings being demolished.

A covered link would replace it, with renovations to entrances to also occur.

The shire accepted a proposal to spend $380,000 on design and construction for the redevelopment.

But the management committee for the school and hall formally rejected Option 3 with letters from its members presented to the council.

Basketball representative Seth Howell stated the plan did not have broad support, detracted from the school’s heritage and did not meet user groups’ needs.

“Proceeding with Option 3 will lead to further division and conflict in the Finley community,” Mr Howell wrote.

Fellow committee member Dean Russell told the council his group wanted to lead the redevelopment.

He noted a termite control plan was needed, but wrote “the annex is still completely functional and repairs can be made to satisfy any structural assessment at no cost to the ratepayer”.

“I have already been promised the donation of up to $1000 worth of materials if needed towards those repairs,” Mr Russell stated.

The council was forced to shut the annex earlier this month because of fears of termite damage in the annex walls.

Save the Finley War Memorial Hall Association president Patricia Boyd told the council her group opposed Option 3 and wanted the shire to cede trusteeship of the site to the community.