Scouts hall in doubt

The Max Pawsey Reserve has been home to the Narre Warren Scouts Hall since 1989.

By Emma Xerri

The future of the Narre Warren Scouts Hall remains uncertain, with the club receiving little information or clarification in the years since the release of the Max Pawsey Recreation Reserve Master Plans in 2020.

The reserve, which is situated opposite Bunjil Place and Westfield Fountain Gate, currently functions as a sporting reserve, supporting a variety of local organised sports including AFL, cricket, tennis, athletics and lawn bowls, along with the Narre Warren Scouts Group.

In an attempt to better support these groups, the master plan outlines opportunities for development which, most significantly for the scouts, includes an option to replace the existing scouts hall with a dual-purpose major facility incorporating the hall with the AFL/cricket sporting pavilion, community room and public toilets.

While the estimated $4.56 million development serves to improve the reserve’s facilities and better accommodate Casey’s growing population, the Narre Warren Scouts remain uncertain of what this change will mean for the future of their group.

“As the group leader of the Narre Warren Scout Group I have phoned the council and repeatedly requested information on what was happening with the Master Plan and the Councils plans for our Scout Hall,” Narre Warren Scout Group leader, Melinda Davison said.

“There was no communication with me and I was left feeling in the dark, until January 25th of this year when I received an email asking the community to provide feedback on the draft plans for the playspace and car park at Max Pawsey Reserve.

“In the letter they state that the ‘space is for the community’ and that they want it ‘to be a place for you, your family and friends to visit together for years to come.’ The letter also stated that the project will have a focus on providing a space that is ‘inviting, inclusive and welcoming which will also help the demands of our growing community.’

“I absolutely agree with this and our Narre Warren Scout Hall has already been doing this for almost 48 years.

“We have members who were Joeys and are now leaders of youth, and parents who bring their child to their assigned nights and speak fondly about their memories here as a young scout.”

But for Ms Davison, it is not the plans that are of concern, but the lack of input her scouts have been able to give, worried that the legacy of their group will fade with the removal of their beloved hall.

“Our group is growing in numbers and we are excited to welcome everyone. However, families are uncertain about commiting to Narre Warren Scout Group as they want to join a scout group that will still have a dedicated space where they can play ball games, camp over in the hall on the weekends and host other local Scout groups,” she added.

“Due to a lack of transparency and communication from the City of Casey it has left over 80 leaders, youth members and families uncertain what the future of our group holds.

“All we want is to collaborate and communicate with the City of Casey to ensure that we are kept informed of changes to their plans and to work together to ensure that our youth members in scouting have a space where they can continue their learning through play and adventure without limitations.”