IT has been a “long hard road” but the Joondalup Men’s Shed finally has a permanent home.
The shed was established in 2010 and has been located in the former Padbury Senior High School manual arts building under a lease arrangement with the Department of Education, which expires in December, 2019.
Since then, the City has worked closely with the shed to try and identify a suitable location to either construct a new facility, which was ruled out because of costs, or renovate an existing one.
The City’s current building maintenance depot at 17 Winton Road, Joondalup has since been chosen as the most appropriate, with councillors unanimously approving the new home at their December meeting.
To enable this, extension works are first required at the City’s main Works Operations Centre in Craigie to accommodate the relocation of staff and centralisation of operational activities.
These works are estimated to cost the City $1.1 million.
A power upgrade is also required at the Winton Road facility to accommodate the shed’s machinery and equipment, which the City would also fund at an estimated cost of $110,000, along with $15,000 allocated to relocating the machinery.
This takes the total cost of the project to an estimated $1.23 million, with any other refurbishment works to be done at the shed’s cost.
Other costs to the shed would include utilities such as water rates and the emergency services levy, but there would be no charge for council rates or land taxes.
According to the December council document, though the Department of Education currently covers all outgoing expenses for the shed, the City has reviewed the shed’s recent financial statements and is satisfied it will be able to meet this arrangement, particularly given the facility is fitted with solar panels that will “offset their greatest daily cost of power consumption”.
At the council briefing, shed president Bob Allen said the Winton Road site was the best option they had seen given it would be “very difficult, if not impossible, to build a home from scratch”.
He said the Joondalup Men’s Shed was the second largest in WA with 212 members and 10 associate female members.
“We average 165 members at the shed each week for about 32 hours each week,” he said.
“We provide a safe, friendly and supportive environment for all men aged over 18.
“Activities include computer classes, machinery, health seminars and trips.
“Most of our money comes from the toys we make, sausage sizzles and other fundriasers.”
Founder and “sole life member” Alan Greenhalgh added the group also helped to “combat loneliness, isolation and suicide”.
“We have literally saved lives, marriages and relationships,” he said.
“As we near the end of our tenure at the former Padbury Senior High School site, we have no other opportunities on the horizon so to miss out on this would be an enormous tragedy.”
Cr Tom McLean said it had been a “long hard road since 2010 looking for a more permanent site”.
He said the Winton Road site was a win-win, providing the men’s shed with a home and helping the City consolidate some of its services.
“It is quite some additional money but money well spent,” he said.
Mayor Albert Jacob agreed it was the best location – “near the train station and Bunnings and away from residents so noise will not be an issue”.
It is estimated the works could take up to 18 months, with the Department of Education indicating it would extend the current Padbury lease by up to 12 months if needed.