Halls given new lease on life

HALLS DECKED OUT: Member for Barker Tony Pasin (front right) toasts to the success of the Coonawarra Community Hall Project 100 upgrade with Coonawarra Soldiers Memorial Community Club members.

TWO halls at the heart of their communities have been given a new lease on life through federally-funded infrastructure upgrades.

Improvements to the Coonawarra Community Hall and Mil Lel Memorial Hall were unveiled late last month, modernising the facilities which serve as key community hubs for residents.

Coonawarra Soldiers Memorial Community Club invested heavily in its Project 100 hall upgrade, coinciding with the hall’s centenary.

The club injected $84,045 into the build, supporting by $77,545 from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, $2500 from Stand Like Stone Foundation and $2000 each from Wattle Range Council and Bendigo Bank.

A new indoor/outdoor bar and dining space was created as part of the upgrade, which also included improved main hall flooring, paint works, a ceiling replacement and new toilet facility.

Coonawarra Soldiers Memorial Community Club committee member John Innes said the government grant was the most significant external funding the hall had received in its 100-year history, enabling the project to be completed to mark its centenary.

“In maintaining the heritage of the building, as well as enhancing its various spaces, the new and improved building will continue to serve future generations with increased capacity and vigour,” Mr Innes said.

“The Coonawarra Hall is used very regularly for community events, wine industry gatherings film nights, choir practice and the all-important annual tomato competition,” he said.

“We still have many more projects ahead of us and I think Project 100 has been a major boost, giving us great confidence for the future of the Coonawarra Hall.”

Wattle Range Council Mayor Des Noll said the hall had been a major part of the local lifestyle, inviting the community to come together and connect with each other.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin opened the refurbished facilities last Friday, stating the development would strengthen the Coonawarra community.

“With the increased capacity that this redevelopment has facilitated, I can see the hall will be used for more local events, especially as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and as restrictions ease,” Mr Pasin said.

Speaking to the significant $152,000 Mil Lel Memorial Hall upgrade, Mr Pasin said there was a strong sense of community in Mil Lel and the hall had been at its heart for over 60 years.

The project – split between federal ($77,000) and club ($75,720) funding – included construction of a new ablution block to include new showers and toilets with disabled access.

“I know that there has been a committed fundraising effort to upgrade the amenities and I’m really pleased that the Federal Government was able to support this project,” Mr Pasin said.

Mil Lel Memorial Park secretary Janet Phillips said after eight long years of fundraising, planning and the contribution of a Building Better Regions Fund grant, the project had a pleasing result.

“Mil Lel Memorial Park committee would like to thank Naralilla Homes for the great work they did and all those who contributed their time, donations and support to enable this project go ahead,” Ms Phillips said.

“The wider community will reap the benefits of the facilities for many more years to come.”