Exciting times as vacant land gets earmarked for lifelong learning opportunities in Port Macquarie

EXCITING TIMES: President of the Hastings Men's Shed Joe Meredith and President of the Port Macquarie Arts and Craft centre Mavourna Collits with Education Minister Rob Stokes and Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams. Photo: Ivan Sajko
EXCITING TIMES: President of the Hastings Men's Shed Joe Meredith and President of the Port Macquarie Arts and Craft centre Mavourna Collits with Education Minister Rob Stokes and Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Adult education groups in Port Macquarie will get a boost after proposed plans to revitalise land, east of the Douglas Vale Historical Homestead, were unveiled on October 24.

Education Minister Rob Stokes has welcomed a proposal for vacant Department of Education land in Port Macquarie to be set aside for a future community education centre and a home for the Men’s Shed.

Mr Stokes heard details of the plan from Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams during a visit to the site on the Oxley Highway.

“This site was earmarked for disposal, but after Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams came to me and said with limited public space for education why not explore the idea of an adult education facility,” Minister Stokes said.

“Now I have seen the site I will ask the department to get the ball rolling on this proposal with a view to providing some wonderful new facilities to support adult education for local residents,” he said.

Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said that the proposed project is a much-needed addition for the Port Macquarie community.

“The Hastings Men’s Shed has outgrown its building in the industrial estate and the Port Macquarie Arts and Craft building is literally falling down,” Mrs Williams said.

PROPOSAL: Concept drawings for the proposed Community Art Centre.

PROPOSAL: Concept drawings for the proposed Community Art Centre.

“Together these organisations have hundreds of members enhancing their skill set and interacting with like-minded people, so it is important to me that they are able to carry out their activities in suitable surrounds,” she said.

Dennis Wood from the Hastings Men’s Shed said the proposed concept is a lifeline for groups in the Hastings.

“The Men’s Shed has 87 members this year, and we have dramatically outgrown, and are constrained by our current space, and are in desperate need of a purpose built space that we can utilise for painting and metal work,” Mr Wood said.

“This announcement is a godsend to us, as it means that more men can have a shed away from home, and more generally we have a place that we can use to make things to help more people in the community,” he said.

The community art adult education facility will potentially combine a Men’s Shed, community gallery, artist work space, cafe and sculpture garden and walk among other facilities yet to be determined.