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Community Heartbreak as Werribee’s Kelly Park Centre Faces Demolition

Kelly Park Centre Demolition

Local Community Mourns Loss and Criticises Council's Decision to Demolish Fire-Damaged Community Hub Without Plans for Rebuilding.

In a decision that has stirred emotions and drawn criticism, the Wyndham City Council has announced plans to demolish the Kelly Park Centre in Werribee, a decision that has left the local community in dismay. The centre, located on Synnot Street, was a hub of activity and camaraderie before a devastating fire on June 26, 2022, severely damaged it. The fire ravaged the building’s roof and kitchen, disrupting numerous community groups and leaving a void in communal activities.

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Following the fire, the community sought answers and updates on the centre’s future. A year after the tragedy, in June 2023, Wyndham TV’s inquiries revealed that the council was assessing the building for structural integrity and asbestos risk, awaiting a final insurance assessment before deciding the fate of the facility. The community was assured that alternative venues would be provided for displaced groups in the interim.

However, a local resident’s determined efforts to get updates from the council uncovered a concerning lack of communication about the centre’s condition and potential asbestos hazards. It was only after the resident sent photos highlighting these issues that the council finally responded, revealing plans to demolish the building due to restoration costs, with no intention of rebuilding. This news has been particularly hard for those who were temporarily relocated to other venues, under the belief that these arrangements were just that—temporary.

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The night of the devastating fire.


The council’s explanation, detailed in a letter to former users, cited the extensive damage and the prohibitive cost of repairs and upgrades as reasons for the demolition. This decision, framed around the idea of converting the site back to public open space, has not been well-received by all, particularly in light of the lack of mention of the asbestos concerns raised by residents.

The choice to demolish the community centre has sparked outcry and concerns over the loss of a vital community resource. Many are dismayed by the inaccessibility of the alternative venues, especially for those dependent on public transport, highlighting the broader impacts of the council’s decision on community engagement and cohesion.

As Werribee braces for the loss of the Kelly Park Centre, the council’s promise to preserve the site’s heritage values does little to mitigate the sense of loss felt by the community. With the demolition, a chapter closes on a space that was more than just a building; it was a place of gathering, learning, and unity for the people of Werribee.

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