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'Teamwork makes the dream work'. There is no better example of this saying than the new Community Precinct Project scheduled to revitalise Pemberton's downtown area over the next 18 months. The project will provide a fresh, fit-for purpose, centrally located, multifunctional space for residents to access a variety of important services and provide a home for eight local community groups and organisations.The precinct project involves a partnership between the Shire and the Pemberton Returned and Services League (RSL), Public Library, Community Resource Centre (CRC), Visitor Centre (VC), Arts Group, Business Chamber and Heritage and History Group. Although each community group has distinct interests, they have pooled their resources to provide an enhanced service for their clients and ensured their long-term sustainability. This project has been under discussion in various guises for many years, however, it has been this combined cooperation that is finally seeing it realised. The project also includes funds to upgrade and redevelop Little Taddies Child Care Centre.
Total project cost is $1.9 million, with funding for the precinct coming from a number of sources. The Shire of Manjimup successfully obtained approval for a Lotterywest Grant of $1.2 million and will contribute an estimated additional $500,000. The RSL contributed an additional $50,000 thanks to a grant from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the CRC and VC contributed $65,000 to the planning phase of the project and all groups contributing additional funds and in kind contributions.Shire President, Paul Omodei said "The project is already underway, with the Shire in the process of obtaining the necessary permits and finalising tender documentation ready for construction".
It is likely the construction period will involve some short-term inconvenience, such as the need to temporarily relocate library services. However, given the long-term benefit the precinct will provide for local and future Pemberton residents, this is a temporary inconvenience.Once complete, the cross-functional versatility of the precinct will enable residents to call in to download a government form, check their email, select a book while their children attend the weekly Rhyme and Story Time session, visit the memorabilia exhibition detailing the history of the RSL in the area, watch an artist at work or stop for a chat with a visiting tourist in the Visitor Centre.The activities of the various groups and organisations to be housed in the precinct are largely intergenerational. The provision of these services in a shared space encourages a natural co-mingling of clients of different ages, cultural backgrounds and interests engendering a strong sense of belonging and increasing the town's social capital.