Billen Cliffs to finally open hall

It’s a hall with an epic history. Billen Cliffs Hall has been 17 years in the making and finally its official opening will be held this weekend, with the wider community invited to come along and take part in the celebrations.

Billen Cliffs community resident Andy Gough said a lack of funding was the main reason it had taken so long.

“The hall was initially funded by a government grant and over the past 17 years, it has been worked on in fits and bursts,” he said.

“The community would put a bit of money into it every year and each time the money ran out, we had to raise some more, as well as more enthusiasm.”

Mr Gough said that one year, it seemed too much for the strata title community to keep going with it and one resident said it should be torn down and used as building material.

“After that, everybody on the community voted to defend the hall and continue with the building project,” he said.

“It’s still not finished but we now have a Certificate of Occupancy for the hall, the stage and the surrounding parkland and it is now available for use.”

He said that future plans for stage two of the hall included building a functioning kitchen and a pool room (the sport played with balls on a table, not an indoor body of water.)

The idea for the Billen Cliffs community hall was conceived in the 1980s by Billen resident and dreamer Paul Evans.

“His dream was to have a meeting place where the community could party and celebrate together,” Mr Gough said.

“Paul drew up the plans and did a lot of research into making it as acoustically perfect as possible – he wanted to have the primo performance stage of the North Coast.”

As part of the official opening on Saturday, May 15, a Sustainability Forum will be held in the hall from 1.30-4.30pm.

The forum will feature presentations and discussions from experts on various sustainability issues such as building with hemp, alternative energy, biodynamic farming and permaculture techniques.

“Our objective is to have a look at where we can each make changes to live a more sustainable life,” Mr Gough said.

There will also be musical entertainment and markets from 9am with arts and crafts from local residents. Coffee and food will be available all day with a hangi after the forum.

The Billen Cliffs hall is located on the Billen Cliffs community at 265 Martin Rd, Larnook. For more information, you can visit the website www.billencliffs.org.


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