Send­ing up smoke sig­nals for sta­tion

Midland Reporter - - News -

Gidgegannup is the high­estrisk area for bush fires, so it’s a nec­es­sary ser­vice for ratepay­ers

THE West Gidgegannup Vol­un­teer Bush Fire Bri­gade is call­ing on the City of Swan to ap­prove plans to build a fire sta­tion.

The vol­un­teer bri­gade is the only bri­gade in WA that does not have a sta­tion.

Bri­gade equip­ment and ve­hi­cles are cur­rently housed at prop­er­ties be­long­ing to vol­un­teers, with mem­bers con­cerned that un­less a ded­i­cated sta­tion is built, it could lead to a dis­as­ter.

Coun­cil­lors will vote on Wed­nes­day night on whether to con­trib­ute $632,500 and ap­prove works to be­gin, which will be added to the $1.13 mil­lion al­ready al­lo­cated by the Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices.

How­ever, the pro­posed sta­tion is es­ti­mated to cost more than $2.28 mil­lion, leav­ing a short­fall of $518,000.

Vol­un­teers are con­cerned con­struc­tion of the sta­tion will be put off for a fur­ther two years.

They be­lieve they can build the sta­tion for $1.4 mil­lion if the City works with the bri­gade and want the coun­cil to ap­prove the plan to get the ball rolling.

Bri­gade mem­ber An­thony Brine said dur­ing the City’s agenda brief­ing ses­sion last week that he did not un­der­stand how the largest coun­cil in WA was the only one with a bri­gade that did not have a pur­pose-built sta­tion.

He said he was con­cerned the Coun­cil would not ap­prove plans to go ahead be­cause it did not have the money in the bud­get to ap­prove it.

“It’s pretty as­tound­ing that we don’t have a sta­tion,” he said.

“We have equip­ment in mem­bers’ sheds and we’re hav­ing to go out in the mid­dle of the night to get ve­hi­cles and equip­ment; it’s an un­sat­is­fac­tory sit­u­a­tion.

“Gidgegannup is the high­est-risk area for bush fires, so it’s a nec­es­sary ser­vice for ratepay­ers and it could be dis­as­trous if we don’t get this sorted.”

Mr Brine said there were ways to make the build cheaper by us­ing mem­bers who were builders, plumbers and elec­tri­cians.

“We are des­per­ate and we need to get this project started,” he said.

Gidgegannup res­i­dent Ken Kuehlmann watched his house burn to the ground in June af­ter a fire started in his house.

He said a Bulls­brook bri­gade at­tended the scene first, 10 min­utes af­ter his house had burnt down.

Mr Kuehlmann be­lieved if the West Gidgegannup bri­gade had a ded­i­cated sta­tion at the time, his house may have been saved.

“If they had a sta­tion in Gidgegannup, they would have been there within 15 min­utes,” he said.

“I called 000 five min­utes af­ter it started and it was burnt to the ground 10 min­utes be­fore the fire bri­gade ar­rived 37 min­utes later.”

Coun­cil­lors will vote on the pro­posal on Wed­nes­day night.

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