MEMBERS of Croydon Men's Shed have slammed what they say are double standards of the Yarra Ranges Council, in allowing a local Scout group the chance to use the vacant Kilsyth Scout Hall — just months after denying them that same request.
Last Tuesday, the council decided to delay demolition work on the empty building to consider the option of Mooroolbark Scouts using the hall.
However, in December last year the council told Montrose Rotary and Croydon Men's Shed — a program that connects men with community — they could not use the building as it had to be demolished.
President of Croydon Men's Shed Jim King described the decision as a "slap in the face".
"We're very disappointed with the council's decision," he said.
"It's amazing that they would make a decision that paves the way for another group to use it."
Mr King said the council had told them last year that the building would be demolished to make way for the new Kilsyth Living and Learning Centre.
"We thought the council had made up their minds," he said.
"I have copies of letters they sent us saying that it needs to be demolished . . . that's clearly not the case."
He said, to date, the council had not assisted them in finding a suitable alternative, as promised.
Cr Len Cox, who last year voted for the Croydon Men's Shed to use the hall, said the council backflip surprised him, too.
"I'm totally unable to understand why they voted against it [in December]," he said.
"They got it wrong and I was very annoyed with that. I think the fact that is was a Men's Shed from Maroondah weighed against them."
Cr Cox said despite this he was glad the hall may be put to good use.
"The building is 40 years old, looks pretty ugly and could do with a coat of paint. But it serves all the purposes for a Scout hall and will be standing even in 100 years' time.
"To replace the building would cost $400,000, which is a waste of public money."
Mooroolbark Scout leader Andrew Lang said it was a sensible decision to keep the building, especially as their group was growing between 15-20 per cent yearly and needed an extra hall.
"If you're going to knock down a usable building to construct another usable building, that, to me, seems a ratepayer's nightmare.
"If we can use that building then surely keeping it is the right thing to do."