Shepparton politicians and Country Fire Authority chiefs are set to meet Emergency Services Minister James Merlino this month to flesh out problems surrounding progress on a new fire station.
The CFA has been looking to build a new station in Shepparton for more than a year, with crews having outgrown their location in Maude St.
‘‘The existing fire station was opened in 1968, 50 years ago this year,’’ CFA District 22 operations officer Pete Dedman said.
‘‘The conditions are very cramped and not conducive to supporting an integrated fire service in Shepparton.’’
State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed welcomed the opportunity to meet Mr Merlino, saying progress on the project had stalled.
‘‘The Shepparton Fire Brigade has been faced with continual hurdles in finding an appropriate location,’’ she said.
‘‘This is an important project for the city and these issues must be resolved at the earliest opportunity. It is highly undesirable that construction be delayed any further when in all other respects it is ready to go.’’
Mr Dedman said a new station was expected to cost about $6million to $7million, excluding land costs.
‘‘We’re just struggling to get hold of a suitable piece of land that meets all the requirements,’’ he said.
‘‘We need a suitable sized block, 7000sqm is the starting point (and) to find that in a reasonably central location has been difficult.’’
Mr Dedman said the meeting with Mr Merlino was ‘‘the last hurdle’’ in bringing a new station to Shepparton.
‘‘We just need some assistance to secure a site... (there are) government policies in regards to where we can build and restrictions around that,’’ he said.
Mr Dedman refused to put a timeframe on when the station would be built, but said once the build had begun, crews would expect to be moving in within 18 months.
‘‘I’d like to have a site as soon as possible... there has been a new station mooted for a number of years,’’ he said.
‘‘Both Suzanna and (State Member for Northern Victoria) Wendy Lovell been working hard in the background to help us with this... both are passionate about having a new station.’’