A NEW fire station will go a long way to securing the a volunteer brigade’s future says Beaufort CFA captain Collin Gerrard.
Mr Gerrard said he was backing a coalition promise to spend $2 million on building a new station, replacing the one built in 1911, which has outlived its used by date.
“We’ve just outgrown the site, we’ve got not enough room for out vehicles, our members, our meeting nights, we don’t have the training facilities,” he said..
“Our station here is the headquarters for the group which means that six other brigades around the region come in here for group training exercises, group meetings, it’s the base that every other group in the region can use.
“For the volunteers this would be fantastic, it would mean we could protect our community better, we’d be working out of a modern station.
“We’d have both female and male change rooms, we’d be able to encourage more females to join the brigade, it would be a great thing for us all.”
The Beaufort station is run completely by volunteers and has 32 operational firefighters. It runs as a training base for six brigades.
Opposition emergency services spokesman Brad Battin and Ripon MP Louise Staley have promised that a new station would be built should the coalition win government in November’s election.
“The one behind us is a beautiful building but it has outlived its usefulness,” Ms Staley said
“The main problem with this building is there just isn’t enough room, right now we are seeing vehicles stored in people’s private garages. It’s just this lovely old building that’s not fit for purpose any more.”
Beaufort CFA is an entirely volunteer-run station with 32 operational firefighters. “We want to support our CFA, we understand just how vital they are to keeping country Victorians safe and this is part of that,” Ms Staley said.
“The group office is based here, it’s incredibly important. it acts as a local control office and supports the wider region.
“Beaufort is growing and it is in the a very high risk fire region, for all of those regions, this is why this is the ideal place for an upgrade.”
Land has been purchased near to the current site, but as yet, the state government has not provided the funding for a new station to be built.
Emergency Services James Merlino reaffirmed the government’s ongoing support of the CFA but stopped short of declaring he would match the Coalition commitment.
“When (the Coalition) had the chance they cut $66 million from our fire services,” Mr Merlino said.
“In contrast we have provided more support and funding to our all of our emergency workers to ensure they can keep the community safe.
"We have invested nearly $3 million in upgrades, equipment and training specifically for the Ballarat area since coming to office.
“We've also provided the Ripon electorate with over $1.7m for equipment and facilities." Ms Staley said she hoped that current station could be useful, potentially as a CFA museum.
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