Locals upset about plans to demolish the Shepparton Youth Club

By James Bennett

It's stood for more than 50 years and former users are angry it will be knocked down.

The Shepparton Youth Club has been used by an extensive list of sports and groups — but due to the new CFA building on Archer and Vaughan Sts, it will be demolished to make way for an easement.

Although some former users have no problem with the CFA building they feel Shepparton is losing a part of its history.

They told the News they've come to accept the fact the Vaughan St building will be demolished and don't plan on saving it.

Former general committeeman Des O'Neill said many families would be disappointed to see it go.

“Apparently the agreement is to build the CFA building on the old oval, then bulldoze this (Shepparton Youth Club) to put an easement in to make up for it,” he said.

“That's what we're a bit annoyed about because there's nothing wrong with this building but to bulldoze it to put an easement in is criminal.

“They don't understand there are bricks that were sold to raise money for the hall.

“We found out about two months ago the building would be knocked down. I think it's a perfectly good building; there's nothing wrong with it whatsoever.

“There's no white ants or a problem anywhere so why bulldoze it for an easement. Surely, there's a use for a building like this in Shepparton.”

The youth club has been used for archery, football, boxing, gymnastics, cricket, hockey and marching girls.

The Greater Valley Calisthenics Club is the current user of the youth club hall.

The building was constructed in 1962 on the back on volunteers and fundraising.

One of the men behind the build was Jim McGregor, whose daughter Heather Estrada was also upset to see her father's legacy go.

“My father got together with George Wilson, who was a local policeman and he highly believed in youth,” she said.

“My father put in a lot of his own money to build the hall. It's very disappointing to see it go.

“There is a lot of problems with keeping historic buildings in Shepparton . . . so I'm not okay with this building going. There are bricks in that building that were paid for by families.”

Mr O'Neill said he hoped to salvage the bricks to give back to the relatives and families who donated.

Council said in a statement it worked closely with the CFA to find land for its new headquarters.

“As part of the establishment of the CFA on the site, ACE College have been provided with the opportunity and support to relocate to new facilities,” the statement read.

“This development also provided for the upgrade and replacement of recreational facilities at Vibert Reserve.

“Council has been working closely with the major user groups, including the Calisthenics and cricket clubs, and is keen to work with any other community members who have interest in the site.

“Demolition will occur upon the relocation of ACE and other user groups.

“The balance of the land will be redeveloped into a parkland which is consistent with the Community Plan for the area. It will also function to improve the drainage.”