Fired up for fire station
THE head of WA’s firefighters union has slammed the sluggish efforts to replace Success Fire Station, five years after the original building was closed due to a spate of cancer diagnoses.
Success Fire Station on Hammond Road was closed in 2014 after four firefighters were diagnosed with kidney cancer in six years, forcing the unit to be moved to Cockburn Volunteer Emergency Services Complex on Poletti Road.
For the past five years, the full-time firefighters have shared facilities with the volunteer squadron in a complex not built to host two full units.
United Professional Firefighters Union of WA branch secretary Lea Anderson said the area should not have been without a proper facility for so long.
“If this government is dinkum about reducing unnecessary administrative delays, you would think they would sort out any of those delays,” she said.
“It is certainly the union’s view, the commissioner would have liked to have seen this station up and operating 18 months ago and they are well aware of the impact it is having on our members and the community as a whole.”
Emergency Services Minister and Cockburn MLA Fran Logan admitted the replacement station had taken far too long.
“A combination of approvals and changes required by DFES, the City of Cockburn, adjacent landholders and the State Government’s Building Management and Works has delayed this build inordinately,” he said.
Ms Anderson said the lack of progress was unacceptable and the current facilities were inadequate.
“That’s not a station that was ever designed to have crews living and working there 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said.
“Volunteers have shown a lot of goodwill, but it’s not an easy place to work at.”
Land on North Lake Road has been set aside for a replacement station, but its timeline for development has been pushed back on multiple occasions.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ 2016-17 annual report anticipated construction on a replacement station would start in 2017 or 2018, with completion by 2019.
However, its 2017-18 annual report moved the schedule back a year and recently released expressions of interest tender documents with a forecast completion date in 2021.
This year’s state budget allocated $7.2 million towards construction of the station, part of a $9.1 million commitment towards the new facility set to be built on North Lake Road.
Mr Logan said he had asked DFES to fast-track the project and was hopeful of a sod turning by Christmas this year, with construction hopefully complete within 12 months.