An Australian-born men's health movement is making its way to Pemberton, thanks to the Pemberton Valley Seniors Society (PVSS).
"The senior women in our group here in Pemberton have been kind of stewing a bit about the mental and physical health of retired men and started to think about what we could do to engage them in activities," explained Marnie Simon, of the PVSS.
"The women get very engaged with all sorts of stuff, but the men, not so much, and we were worried. So we started kind of exploring a bit and came across this whole idea of a Men's Shed."
The concept behind the growing Men's Shed movement is to give men of all ages a place where they can socialize and work on projects of their choosing.
The idea began in Australia but quickly spread to New Zealand and the United Kingdom before making its way to Canada, Simon said.
Last month, the PVSS and the Village of Pemberton received a $20,000 grant from the Union of BC Municipalities to start a Men's Shed of their own.
The money will go towards leasing a space in Pemberton to be used for the "Shed."
The PVSS is in the process of securing a location, but the options are limited in Pemberton, Simon said.
"They just need a nice, warm, cozy place where they can make a mess and do their hobbies and sit around and talk and drink coffee," she said.
The first Men's Shed in Canada was started four years ago in Winnipeg, and now has about 51 members.
Members meet twice a week to play card games, go for walks and work on projects, among other things, said Doug Mackie, founder and chair of Men's Sheds Manitoba.
"The highest rate of completed suicide in Canada are men 67 or older," Mackie said. "And why do they do this? Because they stop working, they no longer have a paycheque, they're underfoot at home, they feel that they're not worth as much as they were before."
The Men's Shed gives men a place to talk openly about anything they want, Mackie said.
"They know that they can come every Tuesday afternoon and there's going to be some camaraderie, there's going to be some kidding... It allows for open conversation," he said. "If you don't, then you're less happy, your mentality can deteriorate because you're not able to have an open discussion."
An informational webinar is scheduled for Jan. 28 from 12p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Visit www.menshed.eventbrite.ca for more details.
A brainstorming session will also be held at the Pemberton Youth Centre on Tuesday Feb. 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 7pm to plan the start up of the Pemberton Men's Shed.
At the Jan. 20 regular meeting of the Village of Pemberton council, mayor and council moved to put out a request for proposals for a feasibility study into a Community Forest for Pemberton.
"No money is being spent, it's a matter of putting a request out and getting a better sense of what that feasibility is," Mayor Mike Richman said.
The feasibility study itself is expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000.
The proposed Community Forest area covers 12,925 hectares of land, the majority being northwest of Pemberton.
Richman said he doesn't want to rush the process, but time is of the essence as BC Timber Sales is looking to log the area if the village doesn't make a move soon.
Also at the Jan. 20 meeting, Pemberton Valley Seniors Society board member Marnie Simon made a presentation to council regarding seniors housing in Pemberton.
A 2014 survey of the need for seniors housing confirmed much of what a similar survey undertaken in 2007 did — Pemberton needs more housing for seniors.
"Basically it sort of just strengthened what we knew already, that there still was a need," Simon said.
Not only is the number of seniors in the area growing, but the average age as well, Simon said.
The full results of the survey can be found at www.pembertonseniors.com.
Council moved that a seniors' housing initiative be considered as part of the upcoming strategic planning and budget sessions.
Proposed cell tower
Rogers Telecommunications will hold a public information meeting in regards to a proposed cell phone tower in Pemberton on Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Cottonwood Community Centre from 6 to 8 p.m.
More information about the tower will be available at the meeting and representatives from Rogers will be in attendance to answer questions.
As part of the public consultation period, residents are invited to comment in writing before Feb. 13.
More information can be found at www.pemberton.ca.
While a final decision wouldn't be made until after Pique's press time, Pemberton Winterfest is to take place in some form or another on the weekend of Jan. 23.
"We are hopeful, if weather cooperates, that we will be able to do curling and skating and ice activities," said councillor James Linklater.
Visit www.pembertonwinterfest.com for an up-to-date schedule of events.
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