Hub sale is not the end of community

Words & Images by Jane Gillard

Gus White and Sophie Miller inside the old Uniting Church property

Montmorency’s hub has been sold but the community spirit is not dead.

The prime property, which sits on the corner of Rattray Road and Mountain View Road, was bought by a developer on May 31 for $2.37 million.

It is understood the site will be developed into a childcare centre.

The hub had gained a lot of support from the community with more than $500,000 raised by selling shares in the social enterprise.

But rising interest rates and a lack of support from local, state or federal government made it impossible to hold onto the site which was once a church and kindergarten.

Settlement on the site was on 29 August and the community held a party on the hub site as a last hurrah with a community picnic at the site..

Montmorency Community Hub treasurer Gus White said community investors would get a refund of the majority of their money in September.

But the sale of the physical building is not the end of the community spirit.

Montmorency local and Montmorency Community Hub board member Simon Longton is leading the group through transition.

He said the organisation plans to continue to deliver community programs – but from a different location.

The Monty Hub has been open to the community during the settlement period.

The group has been offered a room at Petrie Park Hall, in Petrie Park.

The room, which was used for Senior Citizens more than 10 years ago, is currently being used for storage.

“If anyone wants to get involved or has any skills they can offer during this transition phase, we would love to hear from you,” Mr Longton said.

A spokesperson for Banyule City Council said the council is in ongoing discussions with Monty Hub community committee and is helping the group deliver programs at existing Council facilities. 

Council allocated $60,000 in the 2022/23 budget to support the group to deliver community programs. 

“The Monty Hub committee have been running programs out of Petrie Park Hall. This use has been free of charge,” the spokesperson said.

However, the community group said it was still in negotiations to arrange access to the room at Petrie Park Hall and hoped to be able to access the room in early September. 

The room will need to be renovated so it is able to be used by the group.

The Council spokesperson said Council’s buildings and infrastructure around Montmorency were well utilised by a wide range of community groups.

He said hiring fees were set annually by councils and discounts were given for not-for-profit groups and were also dependent on the annual income of the organisation hiring.

Anyone who is able to offer help in getting the community hub going – albeit at a different location – is asked to email [email protected].