Wyndham will get its own Indian cultural precinct after the state government announced its intention to develop an Indian cultural precinct in Victoria as part of its 2015-16 budget. The government also announced $500,000 for a second Indian cultural precinct, or community centre, in Wyndham.
“President’s Park had no existing Indian culture and was not an appropriate site. The cultural precinct needs to be economically sustainable to survive by its own” — Sonika Sha
Wyndham City Council was granted $50,000 for a feasibility study to examine the needs of the local Indian community, identify service gaps and assess the viability of a community centre for the area. Around 46 per cent of survey respondents identified the best location for the proposed precinct as Tarneit with 16% votes which was highest.
The Wyndham Indian Culture Precinct Action Committee believes Wyndham Village Shopping Centre would be the ideal location for the precinct, with Indian restaurants, grocery stores and the like already creating an informal Indian hub. Committee president Sonika Sha said, “President’s Park had no existing Indian culture and was not an appropriate site. The cultural precinct needs to be economically sustainable to survive by its own. Government funds have the limitations on how far they can help but unless the local businesses can sustain they will struggle to survive and Tarneit has the ready infrastructure and good number of Indian businesses to ensure the Indian cultural precinct can sustain itself in long run with or without government funding. I am only asking for the feasibility report to be ownered and implemented in good faith.’’
Wyndham councillor Intaj Khan, who also believes the precinct should be based in Tarneit, said the consultation process had been poorly run and should have been advertised through local and Indian media, not just the council’s website. He said President’s Park was not a true reflection of Indian culture.
A petition calling for the precinct to be located in Tarneit has so far attracted more than 130 signatures. For more information, go to bit.ly/2Digf7m