U3A searches for a home

Disappointment: U3A president Fleur Dwyer and vice president Garry Clear outside the former manager's residence at Tura Beach.
Disappointment: U3A president Fleur Dwyer and vice president Garry Clear outside the former manager's residence at Tura Beach.

U3A volunteers were hopeful that they might have found a new home for their activities but following an expression of interest request from council for the former manager's residence at what was the Tura Tavern, the group lost out to NDIS provider Connections Plus.

President of U3A Fleur Dwyer said that negotiations with council had been on going over many years.

"We have been negotiating for a long time now. Our first foray was in 2002 but more recently over the last 24 months that I have been president," Ms Dwyer said.

U3A has a membership of about 500 people who participate in between seven and eight courses which are held every day,during term time, over 40 weeks of the year. Some courses though continue through the holidays to provide social activity year-round for members.

"All members are over 50 and U3A plays a significant role in the community for healthy people who are keen to keep in good nick mentally, socially and physically," Ms Dwyer said.

Course leaders are volunteers with particular knowledge or skills that they are happy to share and members pay a small amount to cover the cost of the various venues needed.

"Members are squashed in the shop at Tura Beach and because of the size we can only offer one course a session in that room.

"We were hoping to bring the organisation together, have an office for enrolments and even start a coffee club," Ms Dwyer said, noting that the residence had been empty for six years.

She said that U3A has also spent "18 months in intense negotiations with council over the space underneath the library" but had been told there was no money to carry out renovations.

Asked about possible use of the space under the library a council spokeswoman said that U3A was one of a number of organisations and community groups who had expressed interest in investigating a potential space under Tura Marrang Library for their use.

"Council is yet to decide the best use for that space," the spokeswoman said.

Asked about renovations the spokeswoman said that prior to any tenants relocating into the space, council would need to undertake a full DA process, including change of use.

"Currently these works are unbudgeted. The extent of any refurbishment would be highly dependent on the needs and use of any future potential tenants," she said.

The spokeswoman said council was willing to work with U3A if they identified a suitable alternate location and had in the past worked with U3A on identifying potential sites.

"U3A is one of many valuable community focused organisations across the shire seeking suitable accommodation,' the spokeswoman said.