Fired up for fire sta­tion

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Ben Smith

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.

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