The future of Warrnambool's old fire station has been in limbo while debate raged over proposed reforms to the fire service.
But with new legislation passing state parliament last week following a three-year battle which included rallies in Melbourne and marches down Warrnambool's main street, a decision will soon be made on whether to sell the Raglan Parade.
The changes mean that professional firefighters at Warrnambool's integrated fire station will become part of a new entity - Fire Rescue Victoria - which brings together both the Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
CFA volunteers would become their own separate entity.
Despite the split, assistant chief officer of CFA for the south-west region Rohan Luke said the preferred option would be for volunteers and professional firefighters to remain under the same roof at the Mortlake Road fire station.
Mr Luke said that was the plan for all of Victoria's 38 integrated fire stations.
"That's the preferred one but there are options for brigades to consider, so we'll need to work with the brigade about what is their best option," he said.
Mr Luke said his focus was to make sure the region maintain its volunteer capacity, and he was confident they would.
"I'm really conscious that the Warrnambool brigade plays a vital part of responding to the community," he said.
He said one of the options for the volunteer brigade was for them to move back to the old station on Raglan Parade, and while it had been discussed it was not an ideal option.
"I don't believe that would be a viable option. It doesn't actually enhance the service to the community in our response times. I think, realistically it's not an ideal design for a volunteer station either," he said.
"There's potential that they may want to look at another location to work from."
However, he pointed out that any new location would have to enhance the service they provide to the community.
Mr Luke said the old station was not on the market at the moment, but down the track they'd be looking to sell the site.
"We've deliberately not made any movement on it while this reform conversation is in the air," he said.
"In respect of having a little bit of uncertainty, we've kept it as an option, but I don't think it's a viable option for a volunteer brigade function out of."
He said while volunteers and professional firefighters prefer to stay co-located at their state-of-the-art facilities, there was a lot of work to be done in understanding what the new operating model will look like.
Mr Luke said some integrated stations may not want to maintain a volunteer brigade, but that was not the case in Warrnambool.
"They're pretty focused on maintaining a strong brigade, as we are," Mr Luke said.
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