By Mikayla van Loon
The Mount Evelyn Sports and Community Hub is on track to being built after Yarra Ranges councillors approved a preferred tender application at the 13 July council meeting.
Five prequalified suppliers from the Department of Treasury and Finance Construction Supplier Register were asked to submit tenders by 18 May.
Melbcon’s $3.8 million submission was the evaluation panel’s recommended tender from those five applications.
Mount Evelyn Sports and Community Hub (MESCH) president Bryan McCarthy said this was an exciting step to getting the building finished.
“We’re really pleased that a builder has been appointed, that allows us now to get on with getting the building built,” Mr McCarthy said.
“We’re looking forward to working with the contractor to get the details right, what the design will look like in real life and fitting it out with all the stuff we need for the building and then getting the handover in probably 12 months time.”
The process of getting to this stage took six years after the Mount Evelyn Recreation Reserve Master Plan was finalised in 2015, with Billanook Ward councillor Tim Heenan saying this project had been a long time coming.
“I remember having conversations with the football club back in 2005 and we said, ‘oh we should be able to get a pavilion in the next couple of years’,” he said.
“Well 16 years later, it’s great that it has come to this. It’s gone through a fairly rigorous process as have a lot of our sporting facilities in getting new builds.”
Speaking to the motion, Cr Heenan urged his fellow councillors to appoint Melbcon as the preferred builder and to get the project started as soon as possible.
“The sooner they get started the sooner they get finished and Mt Evelyn Football Netball Club, together with the cricket club, have a brand new facility for the next three, four, five decades,” Cr Heenan said.
Chandler Ward councillor and deputy mayor David Eastham also supported the motion, congratulating Cr Heenan and the community on their perseverance and input to the project.
“I would just like to take my hat off first of all to councillor Heenan, as you mentioned since ‘05 that initial conversation, I definitely wasn’t sitting around the table as a councillor back then,” Cr Eastham said.
“I take my hat off to yourself, to the community members both from the respective sporting clubs but also some of the community groups as well associated with that reserve such as the environmental group for all the hard work that they’ve put in, it’s great to see.”
Cr Eastham was pleased the successful builder was local to the area and the council was supporting the local economy.
MESCH will liaise with Melbcon to get progress reports to keep the clubs and community up to date, as well as ensure they can supply the necessary appliances and equipment for the fitout.
Mr McCarthy said part of the consultation process with the builder will surround the safety of the players during construction and to ensure construction is not disturbed by games and training sessions.
“It’s not a big site that they are working on, so we have to all work together to make sure everyone can do what they need to do and do it in a speedy way and a positive way.”
Cr Eastham said he looks forward to the day it is opened to the public and seeing the impact it will have on the community.
“I’m looking forward to seeing this being another jewel in the crown for the Yarra Ranges, we do have a couple of nice, amazing pavilions and I think this will be another one that will be sitting somewhere up the top,” Cr Eastham said.
The current building will be demolished in the first week of August and MESCH will be hosting a ‘last drinks’ on Saturday 31 July from 7pm.
All past club members are welcome to join the building commemorations and reminisce about Mount Evelyn’s sporting history.
“It’s to share memories of the existing building and to celebrate the start of the new building and the new lease of life of the recreation reserve and the clubs having a new building to work in and operate from.”