Region’s CFA stations get welcome boost with tenders called for new premises at Warrnambool and Portland

MOVES to upgrade south-west Victoria’s fire stations are continuing with tenders called this week for new premises at Warrnambool and Portland.

Planning has also started for new stations at Terang and Coleraine while a new station at Naringal is close to completion.

The multi-million-dollar Portland and Warrnambool multi-level station projects are expected to start by Christmas, to be completed by 2016.

Warrnambool’s on Mortlake Road will be the largest, comprising a total area of about 1600 square metres and including a seven-bay garage.

Portland’s on Percy Street will be about 1500 square metres.

The CFA’s region leader Bob Barry said they were significant projects which usually took up to 18 months to complete.

“We’ve done well out of the state government’s regional funding,” he said.

“We’ll also look at increasing staffing for Portland and Warrnambool.

“In Warrnambool the local brigade has given $70,000 from its own funds to expand the original CFA concept plans.

“It means there will now be more garage space than standard design, larger meeting room upstairs, larger offices, larger gymnasium and larger stand-down area.”

Coleraine’s new station will be on Church Street to replace the existing outdated premises on Henty Street.

Hamilton-based CFA asset management co-ordinator Peter Jones said the Church Street site was bought about six years ago, but detailed design planning had just started.

“We hope to go out to tender later this year,” he said.

“It will be a single-level with three vehicle spaces and a meeting room.

“The current station is outdated.”

Terang’s new station will be on Swanston Street between Estcourt and Shadforth streets to replace the existing station on High Street. 

It is understood the new station site was previously owned by VicTrack.

The local brigade’s immediate past captain Peter Blain said it was encouraging to know detailed planning had started for a new station.

“We needed a premises with drive-through vehicle space,” he said. “Our brigade has two trucks and a support vehicle and about 20 members — we could always do with a few more people.”

Mr Barry previously had the title of director of what was known as Barwon South West, one of eight CFA regions which are being restructured into  five.

His new title will be assistant chief officer.

“Our region will not change in size,” he said.

“It has about 22 per cent of the state’s regional population and 22 per cent of the state’s size covering from Geelong through to the South Australian border and north to the Grampians — it’s pretty unique.

“This region is very diverse with all the major fire risks including the Shell refinery at Geelong to timber plantations in the west, the Otways and open grasslands.

“We have about 11,000 CFA volunteers and about 300 career full-time staff,” he said.

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