Library expansion ruction
USERS of the Richmond Room in Ballina could be forced to find another meeting place before the end of the year, with the council planning to expand the library into the building.
But the issue has now grown into a campaign to save the community hall.
Regular users of the space include the Ballina Lighthouse RSL Day Club, which has 128 members who are frail aged or have disabilities and the Red Cross Blood Bank.
Other users of the hall include Headlands Church and the Lismore and District Women's Health Centre.
At Monday's finance committee meeting, Ballina Shire councillors voted to give existing users until December 31 to relocate.
A final vote on the matter will happen at the council's ordinary meeting today.
It has been acknowledged that users of the room are reluctant to move.
Lorraine Fox, the co-ordinator of the local Day Club, the largest of its type in Australia, said other options presented to the club so far had not been suitable for "a variety of reasons".
She wants the club to stay in the Richmond Room.
"As the only council-owned hall of its size in Ballina township, it should not be seen as an easy grab for the expansion of the lib-rary," Ms Fox said.
"Without any change to its current design, the Richmond Room can easily accommodate the extra-curricula community service activities of the library."
She said volunteers have looked at the Masonic Hall and asked representatives of the Masons to attend a Day Club meeting to see the setup, but the view was that the Masonic Hall would not be appropriate for the Day Club. Ms Fox said she feared a forced move could lead to a drop in membership, and for many of the members the weekly club meeting is their only social outlet.
An extraordinary meeting of the club's volunteers, attended by 25 people, was held on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
The Red Cross says the Richmond Room is "vital" to its service delivery because of the location, access, configuration and types of finish necessary to comply with accreditation stand- ards through the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
"It is possible that denial of access to the Richmond Room may be fatal to the organisation's service delivery in Ballina," the council report stated.