The Tallarook Mechanics Institute hall will be re-built ‘‘bigger and better’’ than before, according to Farmers Market organiser Cynthia Lim.
Built in 1891, the iconic hall was demolished last week after it was gutted by a fire earlier this month, with the re-build to be funded through insurance and a commitment of up to $200,000 from the Victorian Government.
Ms Lim said following two community meetings, a re-building committee was being established in partnership with Council and the committee of management to work on plans.
‘‘There was the front façade, but now we’re talking about building something fit for purpose, that could provide even more opportunities for other groups to use the hall,’’ she said.
‘‘It was an old hall. It was cold in winter and hot in summer and it was on multiple levels as well, which made it difficult for some people to walk around the whole hall. So now people are thinking of potential opportunities.
‘‘We’re still heartbroken, but because no-one was injured or lost in it, the focus is more now on how we can rebuild it bigger and better than it was before.’’
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said there were many great ideas in the community about the re-build and the extra funding meant it was possible to consider a range of ideas.
‘‘Through the recovery committee we’re asking people to think about things such as whether they would like to move the hall slightly to avoid the creek, which has caused some flooding problems in the past, or whether they’d like to move the location within the site even more,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘The hall has a great history of all sorts of community uses over the years and we’d like to know what type of uses people would like to see for the future.
‘‘We’re also looking for ideas and suggestions about the best ways to involve people in developing these plans to ensure as many voices and ideas as possible are considered in the early planning stages.’’
Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes, a frequent visitor to the Tallarook Farmers Market, said the community showed a strong response to the incident.
‘‘It was distressing to see the community lose such an important asset, but at the same time it was really impressive to see everyone just roll their sleeves up and figure out how to move on with the rebuild,’’ Ms Symes said.
The re-building committee will meet on Tuesday at 6pm at the Tallarook Recreation Reserve pavilion, with all welcome to attend.