Cr finds getting a shed is a real trial

Photo Caption: Cr Elizabeth Re has been trying for years to get a women’s shed in Stirling. File photo

DESPITE the overwhelming popularity of a women’s shed in Stirling, the local council has decided against setting up a permanent version for now.

Councillor Elizabeth Re has been pushing for a women’s shed ever since the city’s men’s shed opened in 2011, saying they need a space for women keen to learn more about tools or maintain their hands-on skills. 

The council of the day was reluctant but in 2019 her colleagues endorsed a one-year pilot, running sessions on topics like tool skills, painting, household maintenance, car maintenance and plumbing.

There was huge demand: The sessions booked out fast and 220 women asked to be put on the waiting list. 

But they were put in temporary locations that didn’t always work out. 

The first sessions were at the Innaloo Sportsmen’s Club. While the club’s committee welcomed the women workers a council report says the club’s members “did not fully embrace the program and frequently interrupted activities” and workshops had to be shifted to other spots. 

Despite the demand most councillors at the June 8 meeting voted against building a permanent women’s shed for now. 

Instead come budget time they’ll consider listing $45,000 for upgrades to the Scarborough Community Centre to house more trial sessions. It won’t be able to house heavy machinery or table saws, only “light power tools”. 

Cr Re urged colleagues to get on with setting up a permanent shed, saying “it’s been 10 years in the making trying to get this established… This is a really good project, it’s got to stop being a pilot program. I ask councillors to put a stop to this never-ending pilot program and just get on with doing it”.

Any chance of a permanent women’s shed has been kicked down the road to be considered “in the medium to long term”, likely more than four years off. 

In a strange quirk of funding requirements, the council has been offered Lotterywest cash to continue the women’s shed trial program, but Lotterywest won’t pay for an actual building that only caters to one gender.

by DAVID BELL

One response to “Cr finds getting a shed is a real trial

  1. When you say most Councillors how about you give credit to those who voted for it. I am a long term resident of the City of Stirling and although I am the most recent Councillor for the Coastal Ward (which includes the Scarborough Library area) I am also aware of the lack of amenities in the Yaluma/Innaloo area. After consultation prior to my election, Cr Re I understand, was advised the Innaloo Sportsman’s Club was the most useful place to hold the ‘woman’s Shed’ and a trial was undertaken. Due to noise and the fact these workshops were held in the main entry area, I would have liked to see a modification of those club rooms to include a meeting/workshop room. If a few of the ‘old timers’ were concerned well where are they going to continue to have a club if most people don’t support it with other events. I supported the woman’s shed in the Innaloo Sportsman’s Club for these reasons.

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