Residents concerned as Wollondilly community halls face uncertain future

The Oaks Community Hall and Seniors Annex is one of the halls on the chopping block. Picture: Chris Lane
The Oaks Community Hall and Seniors Annex is one of the halls on the chopping block. Picture: Chris Lane

Shire residents have taken to social media to voice their concerns over the proposed sale of three community halls.

Wollondilly Council's 2021/22 operational plan (budget) includes a proposal to "undertake a community consultation program to engage with the community on the potential sale of three community sites (Thirlmere, The Oaks and Oakdale community halls) to fund the embellishment and improvement of nearby community lands".

Back in 2018 council staff recommended the sale of Thirlmere Community Hall, The Oaks Community Hall and Seniors Annex and the Oakdale Community Hall to fund new projects.

However, Wollondilly mayor Robert Khan said the decision to sell the three sites had not been made.

"We're jumping the gun here. Unfortunately some of the shire's community facilities are getting old and are beyond repair," he said.

"We're considering options for better local facilities and want to start engaging with the community on whether to look at the sale of three community sites to fund improved facilities on nearby land.

"No decision has been made."

Under the Facilities Consolidation Strategy, which was approved at the October 2018 council meeting, it was proposed that proceeds from the sale of Thirlmeres community hall would be put towards the development of a multi-purpose facility at Thirlmere Sportsground.

It was also proposed that recreation facilities at Willis Park, Oakdale would be updated using funds from the potential sale of the Oakdale Community Hall and money from the potential sale of The Oaks hall would be put toward a multi-purpose facility at Dudley Chesham Sportsground.

Councillor Matt Gould said at the time that he had severe misgivings about the potential sale of these sites.

"Community halls are often the soul of our villages," he said.

"Penrith Council has done a similar process with its parks and I dont want to see that happen here.

"I think its a slippery slope to start selling off community assets.

"I can see where the recommendation to sell the halls has come from but this could have a large impact on the community."

At the time council staff recommended the sale of the community halls due to a lack of patronage.

The Thirlmere site is condemned and hasn't been in use for several years.