Big MenShed plans

The MenShed in Vanderhoof may soon be looking at a large expansion.

Jim Simonson

It wasn’t too long ago Vanderhoof men had no place to go but soon they may have two.

The Nechako Valley Historical Society (NVHS) created the MenShed last year which currently runs four days a week at the Vanderhoof museum site to give men a place to meet.

“Particularly for men, there are very little resources in Vanderhoof,” Doug Durward, prevention clinician with Northern Health, said. “The MenShed is a healthy place with good mentors. It’s a nice option for retirees or any males instead of just sitting at home or going out and getting in trouble.”

Jim Simonson, 86, of Vanderhoof was born in the Murray house on-site in 1929 and is an avid member of the MenShed.

“Women have so many clubs and organizations and men don’t have much,” he said. “I mean it must be popular because we had nearly 15 people at our last get together and everyone is so enthused and willing to help.”

Right now the MenShed takes place in the Smithers building Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 7 p.m..

Since the MenShed started last year, membership has grown immensely and the NVHS has plans to expand.

“We want to build two new buildings behind the Royal Bank (on the museum site) and have the MenShed run every day,” John Alderliesten, NVHS President, said.

An open house Feb. 19 attracted dozens of community members to check out the MenShed and sketches of what the proposed buildings would look like.

The first building a workshop with mechanical and wood working spaces with the possibility to be used as a multipurpose area. The second an artisan-entertainment shed to host local artists for live concerts.

The Vanderhoof Co-Op has donated pieces from their old feed and lumber shed which will likely be used for one of the buildings, but even with those materials it may cost upward of $100,000 to erect both structures, Alderliesten said.

“We are currently seeking help from numerous grant funding organizations and my personal hope is to have the buildings this summer,” he said.

Farmers market representatives are working on the possibility of partnering with the NVHS to have the market on site using one of the proposed MenShed buildings on off times. There are talks about the Chamber of Commerce coming to the site as well, along with the Nechako Valley Arts Council who would like to have a spot for a gallery (not necessarily in one of the new buildings).

“Everyone wants to be on this site,” Alderliesten said with a smile.

Jerry Petersen with the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako said he is on board with the idea of getting as many groups to be on the site as possible.

“Instead of having these things scattered around town it’s better to have it all in one place. I do a lot of travelling and when I drive through a place I sometimes like to pull off the road and relax. When people come down this highway they can get off easily, and can take in everything without driving all over town,” he said.

Anyone needing further information can call Mark at 250-944-0333. The Farmers Market AGM is March 7 at 1:50 in the Vanderhoof library, all are welcome to attend. Suggestions and/or ideas are welcomed.

 

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