EPIC community hub begins construction

Alicia PereraPilbara News
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long, EPIC’s Stephanie Soter, resident supported by EPIC Mary Ryder, EPIC’s Wayne Lemke and Mitie’s Greg Isherwood.
Camera IconCity of Karratha Mayor Peter Long, EPIC’s Stephanie Soter, resident supported by EPIC Mary Ryder, EPIC’s Wayne Lemke and Mitie’s Greg Isherwood. Credit: Alicia Perera

A community hub for supporting people living with disabilities will spring up in the Karratha CBD at the end of this year as part of expansion project from local service provider Empowering People in Communities.

The $4.5 million EpiCentre on 22 Balmoral Road will include a space dedicated to community programs, particularly for people living with disabilities but also others, as well as a consolidated office headquarters for EPIC staff now in three different premises in Karratha.

Construction of the facility, which will be done by Mitie Construction, was launched at a sod-turning ceremony last Tuesday.

EPIC chief executive Stephanie Soter said beginning construction was a milestone for EPIC, which had been developing the project idea for four years. “This will be a place where we can do outreach to the community, run our programs and have office space, but it will also be a community hub — a place where the people we support can come and do some activities, some cooking, some arts and crafts, be together and learn and grow,” she said.

“For us it’s about unifying our services and being in a place where we’re together and are able to build sustainable programs because we’ll have a bit more control.”

At this stage the EpiCentre project will be entirely funded by EPIC.

An artist’s impression of the EpiCentre building.
Camera IconAn artist’s impression of the EpiCentre building. Credit: EPIC

Ms Soter said the community hub would provide a base for running life and job skills programs on topics such as including teamwork, computing and cooking.

A second phase of the project — a third building that will house a recycling shop for processing food, clothing and possibly plastics — is still in the design phase.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the building would be a welcome addition to the city centre.

“This is going to be an extremely valuable addition to Karratha, because it co-ordinates all these services into one area which means people can get there and someone can explain to them where they have to go,” he said.

“Being central in the CBD, it will be very visible.” so people will know where it is and where to go.”

Cr Long said owning its own headquarters would prevent EPIC from paying sky-high rents on three different properties if there was another mining construction boom in coming years.

Mitie Construction site supervisor Greg Isherwood said the company was glad to be in charge of construction for such a worthwhile project for Karratha.

Construction of phase one of the building is expected to be completed in December.

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