Shepparton fire station site chosen

By Liz Mellino

Karibok Park is the proposed site for Shepparton’s new fire station.

On the corner of Archer St and Rowe St, behind Shepparton Shopping Plaza, the site has been marked as ideal due to its size and central location.

Country Fire Authority operations manager Tony Owen said the Shepparton brigade had outgrown its Maude St station, with size a drawcard at the proposed site.

‘‘Karibok Park has good access for us and it most importantly is the right size. We need more than 5500sqm to house the required motor rooms, car parking, training spaces and yard space,’’ he said.

‘‘We are bursting at the seams.’’

Mr Owen identified parking as one of the main issues at the current station, along with limited access due to increased traffic along Maude St and Corio St.

With funding for the new station allocated more than a year ago, questions had been raised as to why it had taken so long to secure a site.

State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell said it appeared the delay was due to the slow transfer of land between government departments.

‘‘We don’t have to acquire land from any locals, it is crown land already, it just needs to be transferred to the CFA and we can get on to moving the station,’’ she said.

Mr Owen said the proposed site would offer improved north-south access across town, vital for quick response times in emergencies.

Shadow emergency services minister Brad Battin said Shepparton firefighters had been frustrated with the inaction of the government to secure the site and start construction.

Mr Owen said talks with council had been positive.

‘‘We have been in consultation with council for more than 12 months and discussions have been fairly positive so hopefully we can resolve the question in the near future,’’ he said.

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed understood all parties involved had agreed to Karibok Park being the desired location.

‘‘We would really like to see this project started by the end of the year. Why would we be delaying a big investment and building opportunity that will provide jobs and wealth into our community?’’ she said.

Victorian Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said work had started to secure the site and was well on the way to being delivered.

‘‘The project is fully funded already and a process is under way to deliver it at that site,’’ he said.

‘‘CFA is working constructively with council on the potential use of Karibok Park...I look forward to the location being finalised and being able to start construction on the project soon.’’