Letter from SIRA to community
You will all be aware by now that the kindergarten which was conducted by SIOCS on the island closed its doors in early 2020. This left a vacant building which belongs to Northern Beaches Council.
In July 2020, a community meeting was conducted by the Director of SIOCS to canvas the views of people in the community as to possible future uses of the hall. This was followed up by a Survey Monkey poll in August. The survey was completed by 177 people, 68% of whom were female, 72% were aged 35-64 and 57% of respondents had children in their household.
The results of the survey were circulated in September 2020, but here is a reminder of the main findings of the survey.
‘Ideas are not mutually exclusive and we envisage a community focused and multi-purpose offering featuring different activities on different days and times of day.
The strongest interest is in the cultural hub with a focus on art. This idea is popular, and may be reminiscent of the old ‘Gone Fishing’ gallery at the Pasadena, which was managed by islanders (48% felt they were very likely to use a cultural hub incorporating workshops, training, weekend art gallery, cafe, exhibitions, sales). In conjunction with the feedback that the highest interest in services lie in art and pottery classes (over 40% felt very or quite likely to uptake these services), we can see the community would get behind a place of sharing, learning, socialising, buying and selling around art and culture. People are keen on a cafe too, probably as part of this exhibition space.
Next level of interest came the knowledge share and tool library (25% felt they were very likely to use this to recycle and repair, and take DIY classes on typical island tasks). And 24% felt very likely to use a community garden (with workshops, plant exchange and growing space). These are interests specific to life on our island and show a keen interest in ideas to engage in sharing knowledge within the community.
There is also interest in a members’ club which could have social evening events.
Other ideas such as a co-op for buying bulk dry goods scored relatively well’. (Gail MacKenzie letter to Northern Beaches Council, 4 September, 2020)
Since this letter was sent, there have been various discussions between NBC and island residents. The Council is now willing to make the space available for use by the community in line with the ideas put forward in the survey. SIRA has been asked to administer the hall in the same way that it administers the Community Hall – i.e. a hall manager/s, booking system and charging of fees, responsibility for cleaning and reporting to Council when maintenance and repairs are needed.
NBC plans to make modifications to the hall but usage of the hall as it stands can commence immediately. The recent Festival of Making made good use of the hall and it was judged to be a suitable venue for a wide range of activities. If you have an activity or workshop you would like to offer, with the assistance of the Recreation Club, please contact Carol Floyd (art and culture) or Roy Baker (physical activities).
Watch out for the upcoming survey to find a name for the hall. All members of the community will be invited to vote for a name.