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Sod turning a highlight of Fijian holiday
Many Australians head to the tropical island paradise of Fiji to snorkel in the turquoise waters or sip cocktails by the pool. But CFA Board member Ross Coyle added a fire station sod turning ceremony to his holiday itinerary.
Ross, who is also Captain of Wodonga West Brigade, jumped at the chance to attend the ceremony, after he learned about it while staying on Fiji’s Coral Coast, at the tail end of a family holiday to the USA.
“Sometimes the best opportunities fall in your lap,” Ross said.
“I decided to attend the event and had a terrific time. I met many wonderful people from Fiji’s National Fire Authority (NFA) and also learned about the importance of this station, not just for the local people, but the tourism industry as well.”
The $1.2 million Korolevu Fire Station will house two fire and road appliances and an ambulance. It is due to be completed by September 2015, weather permitting.
It will service the Coral Coast, known as the birthplace of Fiji tourism, which remains extremely popular with Australian tourists and is home to several hotels and resorts.
Ross was staying at one of these hotels, the Naviti Resort, which he discovered had been partially destroyed by fire in November 2012 and which demonstrated the need for a closer station.
The majority of incidents attended are structural, but the stretch of road along the coast is also notorious for accidents.
“The fire service in Fiji is also responsible for rescue and ambulance and have to train their staff so they can respond in a Fire Truck, Ambulance or Rescue Appliance, depending on the job.”
He said they had also expressed how much they were looking forward to receiving 10 trucks from us later this year. This was on top of 8 they purchased last year.
“They will get a mix of pumpers and tankers. They like our appliances as they have a limited budget and can get another 20 to 30 years out of our low mileage disposals.”
During the ceremony, Ross also met the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Mr Parveen Kumar Bala, as well as the NFA Chair Commander Francis Kean and Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Qionilau Moceitai.
He said many of the people he’d met had spent time with the CFA on secondment and added that former CFA senior operations staff, Mark Reid and Greg Allisey, both of whom had served as NFA Chief Officers, were also fondly remembered.