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District 24 welcomes four new fire stations
There are fire seasons, the footy season, the Christmas season, but since 26 September, District 24 has a fire station opening season. With the completion of the Rural Fire Stations program, four new stations were officially opened.
Each opening was attended by the local member for Benambra Mr Bill Tilley MLA, Operations Manager Paul King and District 24 staff.
The fire station season began on a typically beautiful, Upper Murray Saturday morning with the opening of the Burrowye Fire Station by Board Member Ross Coyle and Captain Neil Mitchell. The Burrowye Fire Station is a two-bay station that has a community facility attached that was an initiative of the Department of Planning and Community to build stronger and resilient communities. The fire station and the community facility are the only community buildings in the Burrowye area.
Over 50 community and CFA members witnessed this special occasion, including Chief Officer Euan Ferguson and his wife Kristin on one of their last visits to the Upper Murray as Chief Officer. The Chief Officer with the support of Operations Manager Paul King presented 21 service medals representing 650 years of service, including four 60-year service awards. The brigade also presented appreciation certificates to two community leaders for their support and efforts in assisting the brigade.
The next opening was at Tangambalanga on Friday evening, 9 October, when Board Member Ross Coyle officially opened the new three-bay Kiewa Fire Station and Bogong Group Headquarters with the assistance of Captain Aaron Wallace and Group Officer Ron Leary, in front of 60 members of the Kiewa Brigade and officers of Bogong Group.
Both the brigade and Bogong Group will share the meeting and training room facilities and these were funded partly by the Group and CFA.
After the official opening, Board Member Ross Coyle, Paul King and Operations Officer Brett Myers presented service awards to five members, then three National Medals to members of Kiewa brigade, including Captain Aaron Wallace, VFF Max Dunlop, and VFF Stephen Damm. The VFBV and the brigade also presented a Life Member jewel to John Temple.
The next morning on 10 October, Bullioh Fire Station was opened by Paul King with the assistance of Captain Chris Gigliotti, in front of 50 community and brigade members. The station is on a new site on what was railway land on the Murray Valley Highway opposite the Bullioh Hall. This event was significant as it was the first station opening credited to Paul King, and the brigade and community was pleased that a local had the honour of opening their new station.
The brigade then presented service awards to its members, that included six 55-year awards and one 50-year award who were original members of the brigade when it was originally created.
At 2.30pm on the same Saturday afternoon, Paul King had the honour of opening Dartmouth Fire Station in front of 40 members of the Dartmouth community. Dartmouth Fire Station was originally a police station that has been renovated and extended to accommodate the brigade.
Dartmouth town was created in the 1970s when the Dartmouth dam was being built, and is now one of the popular fishing tourist spots in Victoria. The town is very community minded with approximately 50 per cent of the town involved with the brigade as either firefighters or in auxiliary roles.
Paul King with the assistance of Operations Officer Adrian Gutsche also presented service awards totalling 105 years’ service to the CFA and the community.
Captain Jono Dower, who is one of the younger brigade captains in the CFA, gave an excellent responsive and thank you speech, that detailed the community involvement, the role of District 24 with the brigade, the efforts of his brigade and gave a summary of what to expect in the upcoming fire season. This is his speech.
Good Afternoon ladies and gentleman,
I welcome you all here today to help the Dartmouth Fire Brigade celebrate the official opening of its station after a number of significant improvements.
These improvements to the station will allow the brigade to progress into the future and enhance its operational capacity significantly by allowing for the future upgrade of equipment and also the addition of new resources that will put the brigade in a better position to protect lives and property within Dartmouth and surrounding areas.
Dartmouth, as many of you know, is largely a community-minded town, especially in regard to its involvement with emergency services. Approximately 50 per cent of the population occupy a role within the brigade, not only as firefighters but also in auxiliary roles supporting those on the fireground. In saying this, there are obviously a lot of people I wish to thank for making today’s event possible.
I would like to extend thanks to all of the staff at District 24, CFA Building & Property, Lance Graeber and Yackandandah Construction for the renovations performed; Alex Todd and his team for their assistance in organising today’s event and promoting it at a corporate level. I would like to thank Kev Stuart who has done a fantastic job of organising everything at a local level and making sure that everything runs smoothly. Thanks also to all of the brigade members and the extended community, including the Dartmouth Progress Association and the Hall & Heritage Centre for the loan of equipment and the tidying of the town and station. Last, but not least, I wish to extend a very big thankyou to the families of all of our members who hold the fort whilst their partners are on the front line delivering a service of protection and security to not only Dartmouth, but the wider community of Victoria and even Australia.
We should also take this opportunity to reflect on some of the brigade’s recent achievements. Whilst it may seem that things are quiet at times, especially during the winter months, I can assure you that the brigade is doing everything it can to improve its services to the people of Dartmouth in time for the upcoming fire season.
Some of the recent achievements include a successful application to the Victorian Emergency Services Equipment Program for the funding of a laptop computer that will assist fire operations and general administration of the Brigade; We provided supporting documentation to Telstra and senior government officials requesting landline improvements, better internet speeds, and access to mobile phone coverage for Dartmouth. Additional supporting documentation was submitted to the Towong Shire encouraging the future operation of the Dartmouth Greenwaste site.
A proposal was also forwarded to the Towong Shire to improve one of our major water points within the centre of town; a proposal of which was successful and funding was awarded to undertake these works. The project was overseen voluntary by Peter Sonnenrein, with earthworks donated by Matt Hick and fabrication of a standpipe by Pete Nido. A great deal of time and effort was put in by these few blokes and I see it fitting to recognise them on a day like today. A very big thank you also to the brigade and community members that assisted in the concreting of the standpipe driveway.
I make comment also on the sensational contribution made by Lee Chapman in the commissioning of a 1,300-litre firefighting unit that sits here behind me ensuring that Dartmouth maintains adequate resourcing. The unit was kindly donated by Chappy and fabricated by Peter Nido and Matt Hick.
Moving on from our achievements, I would like to touch base on where we are at right now as we lead into the 2015/16 Fire Danger Period. As most of you will be aware the upcoming fire season is looming largely with El Nino strengthening its grip on the Australian Landscape. The recent burst of warmer weather and hot NW winds, coupled with the Lancefield fires, should serve as a strong reminder that if you have not already done so, now is the time to be in discussion with your family and prepare a Bushfire Plan that suits the needs of your family, pets and property. The brigade intends on carrying out more strategic burning if the weather permits prior to the fire danger period and the community will be notified in due course if we proceed.
In closing, I would like you to note that it is through the selflessness of our volunteers, and the support of our District Staff, we find ourselves here today with a brigade that will go above and beyond to protect life and property, a brigade that will continue to educate the community and a brigade that will be sustainable thanks to the upgrade of facilities such as the Dartmouth Fire Station.
I thank you all for your attendance. I hope you have a great day and please enjoy the food and refreshments provided.
10 October, 2015.
So on the day before the V8s at Bathurst, and as the local farming communities started to cut silage for future feed, we completed the fire brigade opening season. Each community welcomed their brand new facility, knowing that investment made by the government would serve the community for many decades. As it is traditional in each community, there was a sense of gratitude and appreciation and the hospitability shown by the brigades was evident by the lunches, BBQs and the afternoon teas provided.