By Peter Douglas
Yarra Ranges Council has hosed down speculation the popular Upwey Community Link is set to be relocated.
With the to-be-constructed Belgrave Hub taking shape, rumours have been rife among community leaders in Upwey the link is set to be integrated into the project.
Upwey Township Group (UTG) and Project Upwey are just two prominent local groups which are convinced Council is planning a move, without first consulting the community.
Located in Main Street, the Link offers services such as council advice, internet access, disabled parking permits and access to a town planner.
UTG Treasurer Andrew Fullagar said the speculation had come from “high up”, trusted sources, who believed a move was imminent.
Mr Fullagar said the impact on the township shouldn’t be underestimated.
“We’ve got a good relationship with Council and I’m not sure why such talk has been coming out without any consultation,” he said.
“Upwey is deserving of this facility and I don’t think Council should underestimate the economic impact, if it’s taken away.
“As a community, we will bind together and fight this the whole way.”
Project Upwey’s Andrew Petersen was another fearful over such a move.
“This would have a negative flow-on effect for the local business community. The Link draws many people to the town,” he said.
“If they don’t come, they won’t stop and buy a coffee or a newspaper, and spend some time in Upwey.
“We want to raise this in the community and urge them to get on the front foot.”
Both Mr Fullagar and Mr Petersen said the Upwey-Tecoma region is one of the larger areas within the shire and said a community link is vital to the township.
In addition, former Dandenong Ranges Community Bank director, Peter Marke, said the community needs to know what’s happening.
“This will not only affect the town and its business, but the bank, too. The bank has put millions into council assets and I don’t know why this is taking place,” he said.
However, Yarra Ranges Council Director of Corporate Services, Troy Edwards, said Council has no current plans to relocate the Upwey Community Link.
Mr Edwards denied any talks had taken place.
“Planning is currently underway for the opening of the Belgrave Community Hub and as part of this process we will be investigating the best way to provide a wide range of Council services to our residents,” Mr Edwards said.
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