By Claire Ottaviano
RESIDENTS in the heart of Gidgegannup and Wooroloo most devastated by the February 1 bushfire can start to get their lives back on track with the help of temporary accommodation pods.
The 6.4m converted sea containers include kitchen, toilet, shower, washing machine and beds, with power supply and water storage to help get residents move back to their properties.
The Minderoo Foundation’s Mark Tazewell said the pods were an important step both physically and mentally in the recovery process.
“People have told me on the very first day that their mental wellbeing has felt improved because they have a sense of hope and opportunity to start again,” he said.
“This bushfire will not be defined by the amount of houses lost but by the way community comes together and supports each other ongoing, not just in the beginning but right through to full recovery.”
So far, 30 pods have been delivered with more possibly to come in the future.
“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster of emotion really, this was the last place we were ever going to buy, where we were going to retire,” pod recipient Ben Wilson told the Minderoo Foundation.
“We had stuff that really makes us, us.
“Now being able to live on the property here with a pod and have our animals back and start basing ourselves here to focus on the reconstruction is amazing.
“It’s the first new infrastructure we’ve got on the property and it gives us a bit of hope we can do the rest ourselves and rebuild.”
Pod recipient Maureen Williams shared the same sentiments
“It’s been totally exhausting mentally, when this wonderful pod came the other day we thought, this is our little home now,” she said.
“The mental release of anxiety at that point is something I’ll always remember.”
To further help residents settle in, Gidgegannup Recreation Club volunteers put together pod kits to provide them with all the essential to made their pod a home.
“With the support of Gidgegannup Community Church and No Limits Perth they have been able to ensure that every family who receives a pod is also able to take home a pod kit,” volunteer coordinator Sharon Pegrum said.
“We wanted to provide something that would make the transition to the pod an easier experience and it means that families didn’t have to think about what they might need to source.”
The Minderoo Foundations’ Fire and Flood Resilience spokesperson said a number of agencies including Disaster Relief Australia, the Salvation Army and local contractors helped make the project possible.