A new district depot and incident control centre is being planned to streamline and improve Ballarat's emergency response abilities.
A planning application has been lodged with council for development of a large new facility at 19 Old Midland Highway, Mount Rowan, for Parks Victoria, Vic Forests, Melbourne Water and other emergency services.
The new centre, which would replace the existing depot and ICC facility in Vickers St, Sebastopol, would be less than 1km from the Western Freeway, improving access to fires and other emergency incidents.
The project features two large buildings. The first will house the incident control office from where the response and logistics for bushfires and other emergencies in the region will be run. The proposed ICC building will comprise office spaces, meeting rooms, a communication room, kitchen, toilets, storage and breakout room.
"The building has been developed to both manage the day to day requirements of the site and primarily function as a Level 3 ICC operations centre in response to natural emergencies such as fire and flood," the application stated.
"Whilst part of the office will be used for day to day management of the site, the majority of the building has been designed to stage incident response operations to emergencies within this region. During an emergency situation the office will be used to manage and coordinate the activities of a number of agencies involved in emergency management."
The second building, a large depot, will be used to manage local state government public land and include vehicle storage, workshops, equipment and trailer storage, and workspace. It will also be used to store fire management vehicles and equipment. Vehicles regularly used to patrol public land will also be garaged there.
During an emergency, up to 120 staff will be on site but outside of emergencies the permanent staff is expected to be 29 across the six-acre complex.
According to the planning application papers, there are "general security and operational issues particular during an emergency response" with the current depot and ICC facility in Sebastopol, which is in a dead-end street creating access issues for emergency vehicles.
"The issues with the current site cannot be resolved and an alternative site is required to accommodate a new purpose built ICC and depot to accommodate a permanent office and field based staff, seasonal Project Fire Fighter and Incident Control staff during an emergency," the application stated.
The application also includes a proposal for a portable office in the car park to operated as a "fox bounty office.
The Mount Rowan project is expected to be finished late next year, and when complete staff and resources at Sebastopol would move in to the purpose-designed complex.
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