by Jacob Carson
THE long-awaited Men's Shed at Tin Can Bay is one step closer to reality, with the Gympie council announcing construction will begin next month.
It caps off a long, exhaustive effort by community leader Brian Lindfield to see the project get off the ground.
After all, he says, it's something he knows the Cooloola community desperately needs.
"When you go out and you talk to people in the community, you hear the same stories,” he says,
"There are a lot of retired servicemen and women in Cooloola, and one of the things I'm told regularly is that they need something to get them out of the house.”
The floorplan for the shed shows bathroom facilities, a recreation/training room, workshop, kitchen and undercover outdoor area.
It's hoped it will encourage locals of all walks of life to come together and get productive, with many across the region (and state) often suffering in silence.
The taboos surrounding mental health, particularly amongst men, in the regions can be difficult to dismantle.
By providing this facility, Mr Lindfield argues, it'll at least provide a hub the community desperately needs.
Buoyed by a $68,000 campaign promise by Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien, the project was initially slated to complete construction at the end of January this year.
The materials will be provided by local company Just Sheds, who have to reschedule concreting access a number of times.
After all, there have been a number of delays to the project getting under way, including protection plans for rare flora and fauna found on the construction.
It was an excuse Mr Lindfield found frustrating, noting his prior experience with construction in the area, as well as the nearby Camp Kerr used by the Defence Force.
"There doesn't seem to be any issue with the military base there,” he says.
"But I want to commend the Gympie Regional Council for committing to the date in April, it'll be great to see it finally happen.”
Beyond it's immediate use as a men's shed, Mr Lindfield also added that because it was built to modern cyclone standards, the shed could also double as a emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster.
"The electricity system is designed to be self-sufficient, meaning we'll have access to power in the main grid should happen to go down,” he says.
"We'll also have chefs and cooks here, so it could be a point of refuge for the community.”
After the shed is up and running, Mr Lindfield is also hoping to expand the services provided there and change the name to the Cooloola Coast or Cooloola Cove Men's Shed to better reflect and serve the wider area.