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Byron Shire
May 22, 2022

Wardell Hall CORE

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They always say that emergencies such as bushfires and floods bring out the best in people, but do they?

The War Memorial Hall at Wardell, Northern NSW, is currently occupied by Wardell CORE Inc, which is a community group helping flood victims (CORE stands for Community Organised Resilience Effort). Inside the hall is a stall with fruit, vegetables, and eggs. It also has clothing, food, cutlery, crockery, and kitchen utensils. It has a place to sit down and have a friendly cup of tea and a chat. All this is available for FREE to help people who have lost their home, car, etc in the floods. The village of Wardell does not have any shops, so this free service is of the utmost importance.

Thanks to CORE the hall has become a very important part of community life in the Wardell, Broadwater, Empire Vale, and Patches Beach areas. It is the heart of the community. Normally the hall, under its lessee, is shut up for 99 per cent of the year, being used occasionally by the Red Cross, Knit ‘n Knat, or the lessee itself one evening a month. The rest of the time it is empty.

The hall belongs to Ballina Council (ie, the people) and is leased to Wardell Progress Association whose president is Pat Carney.

Recently the NSW premier visited Wardell CORE, and the president of the Progress Association told the premier he wanted the hall back. In other words he wants to kick CORE out.

At the recent Wardell Progress Association meeting, CORE was told it must vacate the hall by 18 May to accommodate the Australian Electoral Commission for federal voting, and then it would be worked on by tradesmen for a couple of months to clean it up after the floods under a Council insurance claim. Here I would ask the question: Who said it was growing mould inside, and needed all this work done urgently? Was it the same person who told the Council it must build timber beds around the fig trees in Richmond Street?

Say you make a donation at a fundraiser for the floods – where does the money go? Part of it goes to the wholesalers who keep CORE supplied with fruit and veg at Wardell Hall. Your donation has really hit the spot!

If you ask the Progress Association why CORE has to vacate by 18 May they will say it is a Council decision, and if you ask the Council the same question they say it is a Progress Association decision. If no-one knows who has jurisdiction, then CORE should stay put!

Many of the houses in the flood-affected areas have asbestos inside and this necessitates a lengthy restoration process. The Wardell Hall refurbishment can wait.

Keep CORE in the Hall and keep up the good work, and thank you, Bank of Queensland, for your kind donation of Easter eggs to this cause.

Margaret Howes, Empire Vale

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