The last week of November finally saw the completion of the construction and fit out of the Community Business Initiative (CBI) premises in Lorengau Manus. It had been a race against time for the team to get the job complete but a sustained effort by the Paladin dedicated project tradesman working together with the Peren maintenance team over 5 months combined with a final big push by Paladin to have an additional six expat tradesman on site over the last eight weeks saw the target reached.
The Paladin and Peren teams have risen to the challenge of constructing impressive premises built to Australian standards from a combination of containers, beautiful local hardwood and new and upcycled materials depending on what was available. All that is left to do is install the front upstairs office windows once the glass arrives on island, finish a bit of painting and tidy up the grounds with some vegetable plots and landscaping. Considering the original intent was to establish the businesses in existing premises, it has been an impressive effort by all involved to see this distinctive and sizeable building erected in the middle of Lorengau township.
Inside, the gym is set up and functional with a range of equipment including a state-of-the-art treadmill, exercise bike, three rowing machines and other new weight machines and dumbbells. This new gear is complemented by some pre-loved squat racks, bench presses and a punching bag combining to provide plenty of options for even the most dedicated gym enthusiasts. The café has been pumping out coffees, iced coffees, smoothies, juices and simple baked treats for the tradesman and other visitors lucky enough to drop through. The barber shop is set up with two professional barber chairs, scissors, combs, clippers and all the other accessories ready for action. The airconditioned upstairs offices are also ready to be occupied and will enjoy ocean views across Seadler Bay.
Paladin training is underway, and some experienced local nationals are being recruited to get operations up and running. This $500,000 AUD initiative is just another example of the commitment Paladin has to building local capacity through the improvement of employment and training opportunities for the communities it operates in. Ownership was handed over to representatives of Peren Investments last week with a simple key gifting ceremony and operation of the businesses will be guided by Paladin over coming weeks as part of its build-operate-transfer model.