A REPLACEMENT for the defunct Success Fire Station could be two years away, a wait described by United Firefighters Union WA President Kevin Jolly as “far from ideal”.
The Success station was closed in 2014 after a fourth firefighter in six years was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Since then, staff from the Hammond Road facility have operated out of the Cockburn Volunteer Emergency Services Complex on Poletti Road.
In April it was revealed the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) was interested in acquiring about 70 per cent of Reserve 45447 on Cooper Road in Cockburn Central to build a new facility.
Negotiations between DFES and the City of Cockburn are ongoing, with public consultation also to take place.
However with no funding for a new station in the recent state budget, even in the forward estimates, it was unclear when the facility was likely to be built if all the lead-up work is put to bed.
Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis told a recent Assembly Estimates Committee meeting a new facility was a priority.
“A number of different locations are being considered on the resource-to-risk calculations that the department undertakes on population increases and where career fire stations may be required in the future,” he said.
“When that is done, the government will look at the further allocation of funds on a case-by-case basis.
“The first one to consider is probably a replacement for the Success Fire Station.”Cockburn’s planning and development services director Daniel Arndt said the City had been advised DFES would only put forward a business case for the replacement station once it has legal access to the land on Cooper Road.
“They advised that their timeline would be for this to occur later this year, with a view to inclusion on the 2017/18 state budget,” he said.
DFES south coastal Superintendent Greg Feeney confirmed that timeline.
“The identification of a site and construction of a new facility is expected to take two years,” he said.
“In the meantime, the Success Career Fire and Rescue Service will operate from the Cockburn Volunteer Emergency Services Complex.”
UFU WA president Kevin Jolly said the wait was far from ideal.
“Obviously we had to get firefighters out of Success but as time goes by it becomes more and more of a worry,” he said.
“The station wasn’t built to be a 24-7 station.”
Mr Jolly flagged concerns with firies moving from one location near large power lines in Success to another in Cockburn Central.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency says there is no established evidence to show magnetic fields from powerlines causes any health effects.
But because a single cause of the kidney cancer cases at the former station was never discovered, Mr Jolly urged caution.
“There’s nothing conclusive but there’s nothing to rule it out,” he said.