The Executive Committees of the Estonian House Co-operative and Estonian Society of Melbourne wish to ensure Estonian House in Melbourne remains the important community hub that it has been to date.
Therefore these committees consider it important to plan for the future Estonian House by
- Reviewing current and future requirements
- Identifying solution options, and
- Proposing a recommended solution.
- 70 years since the inaugural meeting of the Estonian House Co-operative in 1952
- 50 years since the current Estonian House was opened in 1972, and
- 30 years since Estonia regained her independence, easing communications and travel restrictions to and from Estonia.
The planning activities will be led by a Working Group jointly commissioned by the two Executive Committees. The Working Group which meets monthly comprises - Imbi Knappstein, Lembit Marder, Kersti Nõgeste, Michael Payne, Bernadette Pilli and Ain Utt.
How were the members of the Working Group selected?
The members of the Working Group were jointly selected by the Executive Committees of the Estonian House Co-operative and Estonian Society of Melbourne based on applications received in response to an advertised Expression of Interest.
How will community members be able to voice their opinions?
The Working Group will gather feedback from members of the Estonian community (comprising people who have lived within a 480 km radius of Melbourne at some time between the years of 2016 and 2020) in a number of ways, including
- Between March and May 2020
- A survey of individual and families
- A survey of groups e.g. folk dancing, handcrafts
- During July 2020
- A public community information and discussion session
- During October 2020
- A public forum to which representatives of other ethnic communities in Melbourne are invited - to describe how their community has addressed their requirements for a community centre
- December 2020
- During Eesti Päevad – Consult with leaders of other Estonian Societies in Australia to find out how their community has addressed the requirements for an Estonian House December
Are there any limits on who can voice an opinion?
To ensure that community feedback is relevant, survey responses and informal feedback will be limited to those people who identify themselves as a member of the Estonian community and have lived within a 480km radius of Melbourne at some time between the years of 2016 and 2020.
Why is the Working Group planning to talk to leaders of other ethnic communities in Melbourne about their community centres?
The demographic changes to the Estonian community in Melbourne are shared by a number of other ethnic communities in Melbourne. So, the Working Group thinks that we may be able to learn from other communities’ recent experiences.
The property value of Estonian House must have increased a lot since it was bought in the early 1970s, can members of the Estonian House Co-operative vote to sell it and share the profits of the sale amongst themselves?
No, this is not an option because under Victorian state law, the Estonian House Co-operative is designated as a non-distributing co-operative which must abide by a set of rules that mandate “a non-distributing co-operative is prohibited from distributing any surplus to members”.
What options do we have regarding the future Estonian House in Melbourne?
In basic terms, there are probably two key options – “stay” or “go”. However, there are potentially many versions of both of these – how we might “stay” and where we might “go”. Therefore, the Executive Committees of the Estonian House Co-operative and Estonian Society of Melbourne are being very careful not to “go into solution mode”, instead they wish to start by gathering community requirements before defining solution options. The Executive Committees want the solution to meet current community requirements along with those forecast for the future.
Once a recommended solution has been proposed, who will get to decide whether to accept it or not ?
The Executive Committees of the Estonian House Co-operative and Estonian Society of Melbourne will determine the appropriate approvers and approval process based on the nature of the recommended solution.
I have seen the survey forms, a number of things seem to be missing from them like the need for a Liquor Licence, a Smokers Area, Disabled Access, Disabled car parking. Why don’t the surveys include questions about these services ?
In order to increase the likelihood of people completing the surveys, the surveys have been kept as short as practicable. Items like a Liquor Licence, Smokers Area, Disabled Access and Disabled car parking have already been identified as requirements. Liquor Licenses, Smokers Areas and Disabled Access are all governed by government regulations and so will be implemented in accordance with these regulations.