The City of Whittlesea (CoW) has officially recognised the $324,000 joint donation made by Investa Property Group and the Clarendon Residential Group that will go towards the re-building of the Whittlesea Community ActivityCentre, following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.

Council presented Investa with a painting entitled “Hills on Fire” by local Kinglake artist, Michelle Bolmat at the official ceremony at Investa’s Collins Street office. The artist was personally impacted by the 2009 bushfires, with the painting depicting an image of hope and renewal after the bushfires.

Investa and Clarendon’s substantial donation – the single largest private donation to the CoW – provided Council with the leverage to secure a further $1 million from the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and $900,000 from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF).

The total proceeds of almost $2.4 million will be used towards the redevelopment of the Whittlesea Community Activity Centre (CAC), which will include a new Memorial Hall, with improved capacity and capability to act as a relief centre in future emergency situations. The new hall will also provide the local community with much needed meeting space.

Following extensive community consultation during 2010, the CoW is now able to move forward with the redevelopment, with the completion of detailed design, awarding of the tender, and commencement of construction all taking place in 2011. The redevelopment is forecast to be completed in late 2012 to early-2013.

To raise the $324,000 donation, Investa partnered with Clarendon in the “Raising the Roof” fund raising initiative, where Investa donated a block of land at its Mill Park residential community development, with Clarendon then donating the house. The house and land was auctioned on Saturday 29 August 2009, with a local couple purchasing the house and land package.

Cameron Holt, Group Executive of Investa Land said; “Investa is very proud to be involved with the rebuilding work following the 2009 Victorian bushfires, in such a meaningful and direct way. We’re pleased that Council was able to use our donation as a springboard to secure further funding, and in so doing, achieve such a great result for the local community.”

Whittlesea Mayor, Cr Rex Griffin said; “Council is so appreciative for the kind and generous support Investa and Clarendon have shown to our community following the tragic bushfires in February 2009. As our community continues to move forward in our recovery and rebuilding, the substantial donation made by Investa and Clarendon, has really made a difference.”

On behalf of the CoW, Mayor - Cr Rex Griffin, Cr Mary Lalios and Neville Kurth - Manager Health and Bushfire Recovery, attended and formally presented the painting to Investa at Investa’s Boardroom, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne.