Hundreds of people gathered to mark a special occasion on Friday – the official opening of the new Cobram Library.
Event emcee, Goulburn Valley Libraries board member and Moira Shire Council corporate general manager Leanne Mulcahy said the community had really embraced the new facility.
‘‘Its been very good to see all the foot traffic coming through the new library and the number of people using the facilities, now that it’s so central,’’ she said.
Ms Mulcahy acknowledged the community support and many local people and businesses who donated to the project to make it possible.
‘‘I’d also like to acknowledge the fundraising committee, who worked so well together to raise $206000, which is such a fantastic effort,’’ she said.
Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford and Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins were both apologies, as were Suzanna Sheed, Wendy Lovell and RACV Cobram Resort’s Gary Hunt.
Moira Shire Mayor and Goulburn Valley Libraries chair Gary Cleveland also acknowledged the many local sponsors and supports of the project, which was a cause close to his heart.
The RACV Cobram resort was a major donor, contributing $130000, while Barooga Sports Club and Cobram Community Enterprise donated $20000 each, Cobram Rotary $10000 and many more contributors.
‘‘Marilynne and I happened to be staying the RACV resort while our house as being renovated,’’ Cr Cleveland said.
‘‘We happened to be there for 13 weeks and with the donation of $130000, we joked we got paid $10000 a week to stay there.’’
Cr Cleveland said many residents would remember the library’s original location in a small room at the back of the Civic Centre.
‘‘That’s how we started and then it moved to a great co-location at Cobram Secondary College and it was terrific until it no longer served the purpose of the dual-location,’’ he said.
After working frantically to get a proposal together in two days to make a funding application deadline, the first $500000 for the project was secured throught the state government’s Living Libraries initative.
Another $250000 was secured through the Victorian Government’s Putting Locals First program, with Moira Shire Council then chipping in $900000 on the condition that $150000 was raised as a community contribution to the $1.8 million project.
‘‘The Cobram Library is a significant development for the community and I’m sure locals have been very keen to use the facility we’ve been able to provide,’’ Cr Cleveland said.
‘‘We’re really excited for everyone to enjoy the library and all it offers to the community.’’
Fundraising committee chair Adrian Salter said a lot of work had gone into the library, with a number of fundraising events held across town.
‘‘We knew the library was something both the shire and the community wanted, and we needed to put some skin on it to prove the community was behind the investment,’’ he said.
‘‘After a few events and talking to people about the project, we managed to achieve our fundraising goal, and more.
‘‘The response from the commnuity has been fanstatic and the library is fantastic as well.
‘‘It’s testament to all the time and effort that went into it.’’
Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said the facilities were amazing and a fantastic service for Cobram.
He said it was a credit to all who had been inovolved in the project.
‘‘When a community works together like this, the results will be great, and it shows with this library,’’ he said.