Ballarat’s western suburbs will have an additional 20 career firefighters in time for the upcoming fire season despite the Country Fire Authority’s permanent Winter Valley home being more than a year away.
An interim station for the new Lucas Fire Brigade is being built on Paddys Drive in Delacombe ahead of the permanent facility, which will be located next to the Ballarat West Police Complex in Winter Valley.
The opening of the temporary Delacombe home will see the number of full time firefighters in Ballarat boosted from 50 to 70. A pumper and tanker are under construction for the interim station.
While the permanent Ballarat West station will house both career and volunteer firefighters, the Delacombe site is likely to be used solely by permanent staff.
CFA District 15 operations manager Brett Boatman said while the community may not notice the difference of having another major fire station in the city, the development was about ensuring fire services were in place to support growing demand.
“The community might not notice a direct difference because if you ring 000 you’re going to get a fire truck, but we're trying to stay a bit ahead of the growth in west Ballarat because there's a gap in the service delivery and we want to make sure our resources keeps pace.”
The 4000 square metre, $10 million site at the Ballarat West Emergency Services Hub will eventually house 30 career firefighters and will also boast a hazardous material vehicle.
Planning applications have been lodged for the site which is expected to be completed in time for the 2018/19 fire season.
The additional staff to Ballarat were part of an election commitment from then-opposition leader Daniel Andrews in 2014 to add 350 career firefighters across the CFA. Planning for a boosted emergency services presence began back in 2010 with the Eureka Strategy, while the $8 million for the land purchase and development of the police station was pledged by the former Napthine government.
The Mirelle Drive precinct is also expected to house an Ambulance Victoria facility when completed, however a timeline around that development has not yet been released.