Jack Smits (front left) and fellow co-ordinator Arty Hoey with some of the volunteers who built the new stage on Port Fairy s Village Green. 141210AS20 Picture: AARON SAWALL nb has a new stage on its civic green, pictured are the volunteers who built it in front construction coordinators Jack Smits, and Arty Hoey.THE long wait for a stage on the Port Fairy Village Green is over.
The stage was used for the first time for the Port Fairy Carols by Candlelight.
This is sure to be the first of many times the stage will be used into the future.
The stage has been built by the Port Fairy Folk Festival construction crew led by Jack Smits.
Work on building the stage began in September with up to 25 volunteers from the construction crew lending their efforts to get the job done.
Retired Port Fairy builder Arty Hoey also volunteered his expertise to help steer the project through to its completion.
One of the members of the construction crew was chairman of the Moyneyana Festival Reg Harry, a man who has long advocated for the stage to be built.
Mr Smits said he and Mr Harry could trace the battle for the stage back more than two decades.
“Reg and I were both councillors on the old Borough of Port Fairy back in 1992 and the stage was on the agenda back then,” Mr Smits said.
“This is a great result for Port Fairy. I think it will really add something to the town and be used by a lot of people. It is a wonderful asset for the town.
“The construction of the stage went extremely well. Everything went pretty much to plan and we had no major hold ups.”
The stage was designed by Mr Smits and its curved roof is based on the boat shed at the wharf.
A power source is located under the stage for easy and safe access while disability access is provided at the back. The stage has been funded through the Moyne Shire Council and the folk festival.
The council has put in $55,000 for the stage with the folk festival paying costs above this, including the in-kind labour of its construction crew. It is estimated the final cost of the stage is about $95,000.
The stage is being used heavily during the upcoming Moyneyana Festival beginning with the Christmas Eve community celebration.
The folk festival will also put the stage to good use on the long weekend in March, when it will be the centrepiece for the fringe festival.
Mr Smits said it usually took a team of five men a days work to put up the temporary stage on the Village Green for the festival.