Friday, January 4, 2008

A Plea From Lawson residents

Dear General Manager
I am writing to protest against councils decision with regard to demolition of Lawson Community Hall. I have been involved with this hall since moving to the mountains in 1974. We were the first playgroup within the Blue Mountain area and we hired the hall for the playgroup occupying the larger hall plus the smaller kitchen area. In addition I was involved in the theatre group which operated during the eighties (??) and entertained and delivered some first class theatre/plays. I was a member of the Lawson Community Hall committee during which time I was responsible for the cleaning and bookings of the hall. My daughter enjoyed classes with Shirley Harris in Physical Culture and I participated in several dance classes. Most months there would be a bush dance where the hall would be filled to capacity, the acoustics brilliant with all who attended having a fantastic time. I am sure that my experience with Lawson Community Hall would be shared with numerous community members who are as saddened as I am with councils decision to demolish this grand old lady.
During the times I was responsible for the cleaning of this hall I would sometimes stop and imagine what the hall would have been in its prime, noting the projector box and the stage area with what was then, framed by beautiful velvet curtains. Sometimes, during those boring times of mopping I would sing to myself, amazed at how far my voice would carry.
As time went on, I noticed the deterioration of the wooden floor/kitchen area/toilets and wished that the council would acknowledge its responsibilities but noting that the new centre behind the post office was the "in" place and the community hall allowed to fall into disrepair.
I often thought that this may be a tactic used by council as vandals would then make their mark, perhaps a fire or two or broken windows would then support councils approach that this was a building not worth saving, that the monies to renovate and maintain would be too much and not supported by rate payers.
I only have to look at that most beautiful building that used to shine as train travellers rounded the bend on the approach to Katoomba. Now partly hidden by the Edge, it breaks my heart to see how sad it looks, will it now be demolished as a recommendation by council to make way for what???? Units, housing estate, shopping centre, something similar to that most ugly complex on the highway at Leura.
I have to ask, does the council have an ulterior agenda in relation to the land on which the Lawson Community Hall stands??? Is there money in it for the council???.
Surely, as you and we all get older, there is the need for recognition and acknowledgement and preservation of those buildings that represent the past and the contributions made by the local community. Council has to recognise that our old hall can be saved, can be used, can be maintained and can be an absolute asset and integral option for community groups! The council needs to voice its intent to do what the community wants!
I remember, not that long ago, when the council wanted to close the local swimming pool. I remember the local members (they aren't now) who were at a meeting at a local park adjacent to the swimming pool who were absolutely "shouted down" as the community was rightly outraged that the council would suggest such a thing. In the park where that meeting was held is a concrete map of Australia which again has been allowed to deteriorate. Weeds abound and the flow of the stream interrupted by the build up of sand and other debris. I sometimes look around that area and my village, the local shopping area, parks and wonder if the council just "skips" Lawson, it seems that the village that was so beautiful when we first arrived, with marked walks, camping areas, tracks, parks is now gone.
Do something for Lawson for a change, put some money into our village, support the preservation of our local hall, and listen to the people.
Andrea Jenkins
Brian Jenkins
Eric Jenkins