Sending up smoke signals for station
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.