Yarloop residents air workshops woes

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Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
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Several Yarloop residents are “disappointed” with the progress of the Yarloop Workshops.

It has been almost half a decade since the deadly bushfires all but wiped out the town and residents are questioning why the construction of the museum space has not yet started.

The stage one concept plans were approved in April by the Harvey Shire Council, however Yarloop community members said they were not consulted during the planning phase and that only invited members of the community were asked for their input.

A heated meeting was held last week with Harvey shire manager of special projects Pauline Pietersen, project architects and Yarloop residents.

Resident Anthony Toop, who has lived in Yarloop for 14 years, told the Harvey-Waroona Reporter he was unhappy with the lack of communication from the council.

“We don’t know enough about the project and there has been no sessions up until now to inform the entire community,” Mr Toop said.

Mr Toop also believed an estimated time frame from the council was necessary to ensure stage one, two and three were all carried out and not forgotten about.

“Caravans and tourists come through town all the time and there is nothing we can show them,” Mr Toop said.

“It is time to make a start.”

Harvey shire president Paul Gillett said he was unable to give an exact time frame for the full project as it was still in the planning phase.

However, he hoped stage one would begin in the next six to 12 months, which would boost the local economy and provide jobs to construction workers.

Cr Gillett said he wanted to get the ball rolling with the project as soon as possible and that the priority had been the Yarloop Fire Shed and Town Hall which are now both completed.

Stage one includes a steam workshop, men’s shed and tree planting.

Stage two so far includes an interpretation centre and museum for salvaged artefacts and stage three could include a restaurant or micro brewery, event space and user-powered handcar.

Another Yarloop resident Emma Reid said she was frustrated with the design.

She said the plan stated that a flood-lit carpark was planned to sit adjacent to her house.

She said residents had not been notified of the plans and believed the carpark should go on the opposite side of the land so that it was as far away as possible from residents and the nearby playground which could cause safety issues.

During the meeting, one resident questioned why trees were planned for the outskirts of the museum when they were a serious “fire hazard”.

Another resident told shire representatives that “this was our town”. Yarloop CRC manager Julie-Ann Ford said that after initially having felt quite disappointed with the Yarloop Workshops plans and lack of community involvement, she was happy with the outcome of the meeting.

“I felt there was a lot of unanswered questions around the plans but felt by the end of the meeting the Shire of Harvey staff had listened to our concerns,” Mrs Ford said.

“This project is very important to the community of Yarloop and to the progression of the town and I think we would like to see something great for the locals and tourists built on the old site and somewhere to house and showcase the precious items we have left from the steam workshops.”

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