Fire Safer Refuge and New Activity Centre at Woodhouse
Scouts SA members will recall the commitment from the Branch to make our Woodhouse property as safe as practically possible for its members and guests, especially over months prone to heightened chance of bushfire.
Indeed, we decided to conduct the 2019 Australian Jamboree at The BEND Motorsport Park with the help of the SHAHIN Family in January that year in recognition of the changing fire risk at our traditional Jamboree site at Woodhouse at significantly increased costs to the Branch.
During the planning and design phase in 2019 and 2020, Scouts SA explored all option models for a ‘Fire Safer Refuge’ (FSR) at Woodhouse to make sure that all future Scouting and community activities are conducted in the safest possible environment.
To enable this to happen, we divested ourselves of an aging (and costly) property at SEEONEE HILLS. We did this after the widest, formal consultation throughout Scouting in South Australia, and, with the future of Woodhouse very much in-mind and potentially, at stake.
Every single dollar from the SEEONEE HILLS sale has been allocated to the FSR at Woodhouse. Indeed, through the great work of James Sellers (who secured a significant grant from the South Australian Government) we are now in the position to allocated a further $400,000 dollars to this significant project at Woodhouse.
The SEEONEE REFUGE will not only provide a safe escape or ‘holding area’ for visiting Woodhouse clients, for all our members and our bordering neighbours (as a community service) in the case of bushfire, it will also provide a State-Of-The-Art ACTIVITY CENTRE for Scouting and Leaders to use all year round.
The winning of this significant South Australian Regional Growth Fund Grant in Business Round 2020 delivered by PIRSA, enables us to build and deliver the best Fire Safer Refuge in the State, and also delivers on our promise to provide safe and protected environments for South Australia’s young people in our care.
Scouts SA applied for this grant on a ‘dollar for dollar’ basis allowing the SEEONEE REFUGE to provide a safe place for over 180 people.
The project is now in ‘full-swing’. Funds are secured, plans have been finalised, and, approvals have been received to enable us to proceed this Spring and Summer.
We expect to the SEEONEE REFUGE to be built just below the Rymill Centre and completed this Summer (barring unforeseen events). As you know, this project has been in the planning now for three years. And this is a very reasonable time for proper consultation, approvals and for the securing of additional financial support. This is an example of Scouts SA drawing its resources together in the most effective and member-focussed way possible.
Our Chief Commissioner, Jan Turbill said “I congratulate the Woodhouse and Branch HQ Teams of Scouting SA for such a wonderful achievement and outcome for Scouting and the South Australian Community”. We sincerely thank the South Australian Regional Growth Fund for this significant contribution, which we will now match dollar-for-Dollar to provide the safest possible environment at Woodhouse for all visitors and our members.
“These developments are not delivered ‘overnight’. I cannot emphasis enough that the planning and the patient work behind them, are testament to our ‘youth-focus’ and our commitment to the youth of South Australia”. This $800,000 project is testament to that commitment. We sincerely thank PIRSA for its consideration of our application and especially Hon. David Basham, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, for his unstinting support to the youth of south Australia.”
Our President, Paul Dickson APM, LEM said “We are proud to announce this exciting development for Scouts SA. The Scouts SA Board and our Woodhouse Management team are continuously finding ways to enhance opportunities for our youth membership and for all our young visitors and their families to Woodhouse to have fun in a safe place. This is another example of that continuous effort to improve and deliver”.
The first ‘sod-turning’; for the project is scheduled for late November and we will advise the media on the planned completion and ‘opening ceremony’ in due course.
Scouts SA is planning for the future growth of Scouting in South Australia, and accordingly, will make further exciting announcements on many new initiatives later this year, and in early 2021.
The Seeonee Refuge will be sited adjacent to where the existing exit road amenities block sits. The exit road amenities block will be demolished.
Aerial view of approximate location of Seeonee Refuge
Site of Seeonee Refuge at Woodhouse