By Jackson Russell
Hogan’s Hotel is concerned community groups could be affected financially after receiving pushback about its expansion plans.
The Wallan hotel contributes to more than 25 community groups and clubs, including football, cricket and soccer clubs as well as charity organisations such as Camp 4 Cancer.
Hogan’s Hotel applied for 20 additional gaming machines earlier this year as part of an extension that would also increase its dining capacity by more than 100 people.
While the application received objections from Mitchell Shire Council and health organisations, the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation approved the application.
Council has since lodged an appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to overturn the decision.
The hotel, owned by Jim Hogan and managed by Darren Freestone, employs 78 people, making it one of, if not the, largest employers in Wallan.
Mr Freestone said the support for community groups included vouchers, cash donations and the use of facilities and vehicles.
“Over the last three years, the support has been in excess of $250,000 in cash and in-kind contributions,” he said.
“It’s increasing each year and we’re trying to increase the business as well to keep up with trade and keep up with community demands in what we’re getting asked of.
“With concerning times ahead in the way of growth for Hogan’s Hotel, as the hotel is receiving pushback from Mitchell Shire Council for wanting to expand and renovate to keep up with demand due to the high population growth in Wallan and surrounding areas, this should be worrying times for the groups that are currently supported by the hotel as we may not be able to support going forward if council has its way.”
Mr Freestone said the hotel’s community contributions would increase to at least $100,000 a year when the hotel’s latest extension was completed.
“While it’s been $250,000 over the last three years, part of the new works will include an extra $100,000 each year and on top of that, we’ll make other in-kind contributions as well,” he said.
“The hotel’s owner Jim Hogan has no current obligations to give any contributions from the hotel.
“This is something he’s done for the last 40 years and (more so) really recently. It’s all in good faith, something he wants to do and his way of contributing to the community.”