The former Pinjarra Courthouse is on its way to becoming a community co-creating, co-working space.
At the August Council Meeting, Shire of Murray Councillors approved the use of the building as Pinjarra Makers House, a concept put forward in a submission by place-making group Pinjarra Connect in response to a recent expressions of interest process.
According to Shire President Cr. David Bolt, the proposed use of the former courthouse and its associated frontage, will provide an opportunity for increased activation, leading to heightened business activity in Pinjarra.
“The proposed use provides a space for people from small or home businesses to work and collaborate in a more social setting.
“The submission is consistent with Council’s intention for the building and supports the Pinjarra Town Centre Revitalisation Plan, which features the Courthouse as an integral component of the identified Heritage and Arts Precinct,” Cr. Bolt said.
Pinjarra Connect’s submission emphasised the need for Pinjarra to demonstrate its propensity to welcome, accommodate and support local entrepreneurs, creatives and people in the community who are prepared to work together to bring about positive change.
The group hope to establish a centre that accommodates a range of purposes by multiple individuals and groups.
The submission proposes four uses for the building including a seven day per week artist in residence, rotating on a monthly basis and operating between 10:00am and 2:00pm. Artists could produce, display and sell their artwork and undertake art workshops.
The second use concerns the establishment of a meeting room facility for local small business operators, individuals and community groups for the purposes of meetings and teleconferences.
The third proposed use relates to the setup of an internal and external workshop space for resident artists, community groups, small businesses and individuals, to cater for a variety of workshops, meetings, small events, exhibitions and/or business incubation purposes.
The final use suggested is a visitor information area providing brochures, maps and itineraries for a range of visitor experiences.
The group modelled the concept on other ‘maker places’ that have been established in locations such as Bunbury (Maker and Co), Geraldton (Pollinators) and Mandurah (Make Place).
An initial $5,000 investment by the Shire of Murray will assist with the fitout of the centre, including in particular furniture, IT and basic landscaping in the rear courtyard.
The use has been approved for a two year period and is subject to further clarity regarding operating details including establishment and operational costs and self-sustainability considerations.
Council further resolved to encourage the group to work with the community to establish volunteer-based visitor serving at the centre.
In February 2018, Council voted in support of calling for expressions of interest from individuals, community groups, arts and crafts groups and current and/or potential business operators to use the Pinjarra Courthouse, with concepts presented to Council for consideration.
Expressions of interest were invited over a six week period concluding on 27 July 2018. Two submissions were received.
Built in 1935, the Pinjarra Courthouse building is an important part of Pinjarra’s heritage.
Its use as a courthouse ceased in 2003 and in 2005, the State Government allocated $200,000 to refurbish the building, transferring ownership to the National Trust (Trust) in 2006.
The Trust recently awarded a long term lease to the Shire of Murray to facilitate the sites use for community purposes.
Pinjarra Connect formed approximately 12 months ago, as an action under the Pinjarra Revitalisation Strategy.
The group’s purpose is to provide local artisans and creative people an opportunity to work with the community to revitalise and activate the Pinjarra Town Centre.
Encouraging greater community engagement and visitor numbers to the main street of Pinjarra is a key focus for the group, who have now successfully run a number of activities and events including Twilight Yoga, Music on the Murray, an outdoor movie night and the Paddle Academy.