THE head of WA’s firefighters union has slammed the sluggish efforts to replace Success Fire Station, five years after the original building was closed due to a spate of cancer diagnosis.
Success Fire Station on Hammond Road was closed in 2014 after four firefighters were diagnosed with kidney cancer in six years, forcing the unit to be moved to Cockburn Volunteer Emergency Services Complex on Poletti Road.
For the past five years, the full-time firefighters have shared facilities with the volunteer squadron in a complex not built to host two full units.
United Firefighter’s Union of WA branch secretary Lea Anderson said the area should not have been left without a full-time fire facility for the past five years.
“If this state government is dinkum about reducing unnecessary administrative delays, you would think they would sort out any of those delays,” she said.
“It is certainly the union’s view, the commissioner would have liked to have seen this station up and operating 18 months ago and they are well aware of the impact it is having on our members and the community as a whole.”
Ms Anderson said the lack of progress was unacceptable and the current facilities were inadequate.
“Firefighters require fairly basic things, and they include decontamination showers.
“That’s not a station that was ever designed to have crews living and working there 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said.
“Volunteers have shown a lot of goodwill, but it’s not an easy place to work at.
“There has to be a really thorough examination of the matters that have held this new station up and people need to make sure the very best facility is constructed, because that’s what this community and our members need.”
A plot of land on North Lake Road in Cockburn Central has been set aside for a replacement station, but its timeline for development has been pushed back on multiple occasions.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ 2016-17 annual report anticipated construction on a replacement Success would start between 2017 and 2018, with completion expected by 2019.
However, their 2017-18 annual report moved the schedule back a year and recently released expressions of interest documents for the station’s tender process with forecast completion and handover by May 2021.
Emergency Services Minister and Cockburn MLA Fran Logan admitted the replacement station had taken far too long.
“A combination of approvals and changes required by DFES, the City of Cockburn, adjacent landholders and the State Government’s Building Management and Works has delayed the start of this build inordinately.”
This year’s state budget allocated $7.2 million towards construction of the fire station, part of a total $9.1 million commitment towards the new facility set to be built on North Lake Road.
Mr Logan said he had asked DFES to fast track the project and was hopeful of a sod turning by Christmas this year, with construction hopefully complete within 12 months.