Stakeholders are celebrating after a $3.4 million community facility project got the planning green light.
Oxley Vale Lifelong Learning Centre, a purpose-built community facility, will go ahead on state government-owned land east of Douglas Vale in Port Macquarie.
The development will be home to Hastings Men's Shed and Port Macquarie Art and Craft Centre.
Oxley Vale Lifelong Learning Centre president and Hastings Men's Shed president Dennis Woods' reaction to the development application approval was sheer elation.
Mr Woods said the men's shed would have a permanent home at Oxley Vale Lifelong Learning Centre.
"We will have more opportunity for more people to join us and it will allow us to do more community projects," he said.
Mr Woods expects the membership, which stands at 67, will increase once the men's shed moves into its purpose-built home.
The Hastings Men's Shed will relocate from rented premises in the Port Macquarie industrial area.
The state government allocated $3.4 million to the Oxley Vale Lifelong Learning Centre project, while both community groups will contribute in-kind.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's Development Assessment Panel approved the development application on Wednesday, July 8.
For our current members, it will provide a space they have been dreaming about for years.Port Macquarie Art and Craft Centre president Mavourna Collits
Port Macquarie Art and Craft Centre president and Oxley Vale Lifelong Learning Centre secretary Mavourna Collits said she was absolutely thrilled.
"We've been working on this actively since 2014 and to have reached this stage is marvellous," she said.
"For our current members, it will provide a space they have been dreaming about for years."
Dr Collits said the new facility would provide a space which was not limited by overcrowding, small rooms and all the problems experienced at the current site in Gordon Street.
The art and craft centre, which has about 120 members, will be able to expand its activities, showcase members' work and attract new people.
Oxley Vale Lifelong Learning Centre will be built in stages.
Preliminary works, excavation, access, car parking and services will come in stage one.
The Hastings Men's Shed will be built in stage two and the art and craft centre in stage three.
The art and craft centre will have three workshops, three studios and an exhibition space.
An ancillary dining/amenities area is also provided.
The Hastings Men's Shed will be housed in a separate single-storey building.
There will be 56 car parking spaces with vehicle access to the site off the Oxley Highway.
It is hoped to have machinery on the ground to start work in September/October.
Hastings Men's Shed and Port Macquarie Art and Craft Centre expressed gratitude to Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams for her support and enthusiasm for the project.
Mrs Williams said she was so pleased the DA for Oxley Vale Lifelong Learning Centre was approved by council.
"We have been working on this project for the past few years and to now be in a position for work to commence is fantastic news," she said.
"The NSW government has allocated $3.4 million to build the centre which will soon be home to the Hastings Men's Shed and Port Macquarie Arts and Craft Centre.
"I congratulate the committee for working together to get the project to this point and they are all rightly excited about this significant milestone."
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