Medowie 7-Day Makeover: All hands on deck for final day of transformation

TEAM: Jarad Ashpole (right) with his Ashpole Concrete and Constructions crew in Lions Park on Friday. The crew have been heavily involved in the Medowie 7-Day Makeover. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
TEAM: Jarad Ashpole (right) with his Ashpole Concrete and Constructions crew in Lions Park on Friday. The crew have been heavily involved in the Medowie 7-Day Makeover. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

There was a flurry of activity in the Medowie town centre throughout Friday as more than 70 volunteers worked to complete improvements as part of the 7-Day Makeover.

Saws were buzzing as chairs were constructed, machinery whirring as landscaping was carried out and drills shrieking as the stage came together in Medowie park while children helped to rope off the fairy garden, others painted and even more picked up a shovel to mulch the gardens.

An "exhausted but still pumped" Chris Doohan, a Port Stephens councillor and resident of Medowie who has volunteered each day of the May 8-14 makeover, told the Examiner on Friday that he was elated by the response to the event.

Chris Doohan putting together the re-leaf-chairs in the Medowie community hall on Friday. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Chris Doohan putting together the re-leaf-chairs in the Medowie community hall on Friday. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

"We had over 90 people here on Thursday - people I've never seen or met before in the town, new, old, all coming together and it's just fantastic," he said.

"We were trying to beat Anna Bay's record of 176 volunteers in one day. But even if we don't get that we've broken all other records with funds raised, tradie services, local business involvement. It's been tremendous to see the tradies' support for this because we could not have done this without them.

"The effort that has gone into this week shows that people care, that Port Stephens Council cares and wants to make this a much more beautiful place to be. It's the third biggest town in Port Stephens and its been lacking a lot of love for a long time.

"This is just the boost in the arm that I've been searching for for a long time and we've been able to do it. Now we need to make it as sustainable as we can going forward. There's a want from a lot of volunteers who have been part of this to form a town beautification group to keep the projects we have completed in good condition and keep new projects ongoing."

The bulk of the improvement works have taken place in Lions Park but also across the road to the pathway along the Woolworths carpark and up to the Ferodale Road roundabout.

The goals going into the makeover were to reinvigorate the town centre, provide easier access and a a more socially acceptable environment where groups of people can gather and socialise.

This was coming together on Friday, the last day of works, with the construction of a stage in the park, a community love lock space, a fairy garden, more seating and pathways in the park, bright painting and a large welcome sign at the entrance to Medowie.

Volunteers were working on Friday to have all projects complete ahead of a launch and unveiling of the completed makeover on Saturday morning.

Among the thick of the works throughout the past week has been Jacki and Jarad Ashpole and their team from Ashpole Concrete and Constructions. The Medowie business has donated more than $5000 in labour and machinery.

"We really like the idea of the 7-Day Makeover," Mrs Ashpole said. "We have small children but never really brought them to the park to play. Now that we have put time and effort into making improvements in the park, we feel like it's ours. There's a sense of ownership and pride in the space we're helping to create."

Ryah Coates, 10, in the fairy garden. Right, Marcus Coates, 5, with dad Glenn Coates roping off the fairy garden on Friday. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Ryah Coates, 10, in the fairy garden. Right, Marcus Coates, 5, with dad Glenn Coates roping off the fairy garden on Friday. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

The Coates family has also pitched in to help this week.

Ryah Coates, 10, painted a number of little houses that now adorn the fairy garden - complete with a Medowie Yowie caution sign.

"It's been really fun to be part of this," Ryah said. "I'm really happy with how the garden looks."

The young Medowie resident has volunteered each afternoon during the makeover. She was joined in the fairy garden on Friday by dad Glenn and younger brother Marcus, 5.

Mr Coates watched as his son threaded rope through poles to create a fence around the fairy garden - helping where needed.

"He's pretty hands-on," Mr Coates, from GRC Electrical and Excavations, said. "It's been great to be part of this. There's been a really good show of community spirit."

Emily Harkness, who was a driving force behind the 2019 Anna Bay 7-Day Makeover, was up a ladder with a paintbrush in her hand on Friday helping out.

"The more hands the better," she said. "Volunteering is awesome, especially on a local community project like this. There's been a real buzz in Medowie this week. It feels great to be here helping."

A launch party to view the complete works will be held on Saturday, May 15 from 9.30am to 10.30am, starting from the community hall. Register to attend the free launch party here.

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