Fire station vote backlash

Fire station vote backlash

STATE Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis says he was “disappointed” after plans for a new fire station in Cockburn Central were knocked back.

In November, Cockburn councillors voted 7-1 against giving the Department of Fire and Emergency Services access to a reserve on Cooper Road.

DFES was keen to build a new station there as a replacement for the former Success facility on Hammond Road, which closed in 2014 following health concerns among some staff.

But the council, concerned about amenity for nearby residents, knocked the bid back.

“I’m very disappointed at the City of Cockburn’s last minute decision to reverse its position after it gave in-principle support for the proposed site in April,” Mr Francis said.

“Since then, DFES has carried out a lot of work and it will now look at other options.

“In the interests of the local community I trust an alternative site will be approved as soon as possible.”

The council’s decision was made following deputations from community members against the proposal and DFES representatives, who argued any impact would be minimal.

“Clearly the local community is strongly opposed to losing its public open space buffer,” councillor Kevin Allen said on the night of the decision. “Residents have long had to endure the noise issues of this site (associated with nearby industry) and the removal of bushland will only hamper this further.”

Cockburn’s acting planning and development director Andrew Lefort said the city had been upfront about how important community consultation would be.

“Where a proposal is made to change the purpose of public open space, the level of local community support for such a proposal is one of the defining factors on whether it can proceed or not,” he said.

“This was understood by all parties throughout the process.”

He said the city would assist DFES find other possible options.

Darren Klemm, DFES assistant commissioner for metropolitan operations, said the department would explore all alternative options as a matter of priority.

“The Success Career Fire and Rescue Service will continue to operate in the interim from the Cockburn Volunteer Emergency Services Complex (on Poletti Road),” he said