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

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