Excitement builds as centre takes shape
For three years Yarloop Community Resource Centre staff have operated out of temporary premises while eagerly awaiting their new home — expected to be ready in September.
Centre manager Julie-Ann Ford said every step towards rebuilding the town made people feel more positive and excited about the future.
“I think there was a long time that people felt that nothing was happening and Yarloop wouldn’t come back to its former glory,” Ms Ford said.
“But now people can see that the new community centre is going ahead. We’ve got plans that will go out to the community, I think that will excite people.”
A horse breeder when not busy at the CRC, Ms Ford said she evacuated the night before the fires hit to move her stock. When she returned three days later the town had been wiped out.
“I assumed everyone in the town would have been evacuated or left and then I was to find out the morning after the fire had hit Yarloop that there were people that had still been in here and some were unaccounted for,” she said.
“When I came back to town I came past the hospital where we used to have the community centre and it had been levelled.
“I found some people still in the community, we went to the (bowling) club, we set up there and we were cooking for maybe a couple of weeks.”
Luckily her house remained but the fencing around her property was destroyed and she could not bring her horses back into town for six months.
Ms Ford got to work with other CRC staff, operating out of her own house for a short period, helping residents after police locked down the town for eight months.
The staff moved, first to the Yarloop Masonic Lodge, then later to the sporting pavilion where they still operate.
Ms Ford said the new multipurpose building would include a commercial kitchen, CRC offices, visiting doctors offices, laundromat, alfresco area and potentially an op shop.
“Hopefully we can have lots of community events and start rebuilding the community and community spirit,” she said.
Yarloop Community Resource Centre manager Julie-Ann Ford is counting down to the completion of the new town hall which will house the new centre.