Bass Coast Shire Council, in partnership with Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre (PICAL), has begun work on the design for a new facility for PICAL, which will be located at 16 Warley Avenue in Cowes.
PICAL, which is currently located on Church Street in Cowes, provides vital community services through an emergency food relief service, Centrelink Agency, a community garden, employment services, workshops, adult education and support through referrals to welfare services such as mental health counselling, family violence assistance and emergency accommodation.
PICAL’s current site is set to be the site for the new Phillip Island Community Hospital and is expected to be required by mid-2021 for construction of the hospital to begin.
Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, said that following the purchase of the Warley Avenue land in February this year, work quickly started on the site planning process.
“Working together with PICAL on the design will ensure that the new facility will meet the growing needs of the Centre” Cr Tessari said.
“Council’s commitment is to deliver an initial construction of 400 square metres of floor space, but designed to accommodate 550 square metres. The additional space, which will be stage two of the project and subject to confirmation of funding, will ensure PICAL’s future growth”.
“The new Centre will provide increased opportunities for community connection and well-being through social, educational, recreational and support activities, be environmentally sustainable, protect the existing vegetation and provide car parking, on and off site.”
Cr Tessari said there has been a significant increase in the demand for the range of community services PICAL offer, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They do a wonderful job providing genuine grass roots support, which is particularly needed at the moment,” Cr Tessari said.
“This project is another great example of how working together with our local community groups can provide meaningful outcomes for the whole community.”
Council is also working closely with PICAL to find a home for a secondary ‘satellite’ site. This will cater for their community gardening programs, with potential for expansion to accommodate further classes and activities.
PICAL is actively seeking additional funding and has commenced fundraising to support the development of Warley Avenue and the proposed satellite site.