Site chosen for new respite facility
■ A long-awaited respite facility in Port Hedland is a step closer after a State Government announcement last Wednesday declaring Cooke Point as the site for the centre.
Disability Services Minister Helen Morton said the site for the Pilbara Regional Holiday Home Project was perfect, with more than 2000sqm available at the Athol Street location.
Ms Morton said the purposebuilt facility would be aimed at catering for Pilbara residents, their families and carers at an ideal location with ample space.
The Housing Authority has provided the land for the project and will work with the Disability Services Commission to develop a model and construct and provide ongoing management of the centre.
Housing Minister Colin Holt said the department was pleased to be working with the commission on a project which would provide much-needed respite services in the region.
“People in the Pilbara have been saying for a long time this service is required,” he said.
“We will work closely with the commission to design and build a property that meets the needs of local people.”
After 20 years of lobbying the State Government for a centre, Hedland Community Living Association chairwoman Joan Foley said construction was well overdue.
“These are the people that are most fragile,” she said.
“For us to get this, we’ve stood with banners in 40-degree heat.
“I’m very pleased with this result and I can’t really believe its happening.” Ms Foley said previously people with a disability in the Pilbara were under constant care of family members and in some situations were housed in aged care, despite not being elderly.
She said the announcement was a huge testament to the people who had protested, signed petitions and supported the cause, and she thanked them for their efforts.
More than $2.5 million has been allocated to the project, with a local community liaison group established to ensure communication between the project team and the community.
Construction is due to start this financial year and a registration of interest, advertised to gauge the level of interest in the not-for-profit community services sector, has identified potential service providers.
Hedland Community Living Association chairwoman Joan Foley.