November 5, 2013

Another Fire Season Without a Fire Station

The communities of Mt Helen and Mt Clear will again face another fire season without their own fire station.

Geoff Howard, State member for Ballarat East, yesterday visited the site designated for the
new Fire Station at Mt Helen.

“The site is still a bare paddock 12 months after the government proudly announced plans to build the new station,” Mr Howard said.

“It is now three years since the coalition promised the station as its key election promise to the Mt Helen and Mt Clear communities.”

“The Mt Clear/Mt Helen area was listed in the 52 High Bushfire Risk locations in Victoria in 2009 and a fire response strategy for Ballarat called the Eureka Strategy was released by the CFA early in 2010.

This strategy indicated that in order to ensure all sites in Mt Clear and Mt Helen were to
gain fire response within the CFA targeted call out times a new fire station needed to be built in the area.”

“Not only would this station assist in servicing the housing in the Mt Clear/ Mt Helen area but it would service the University of Ballarat and the Technology Park at Mt Helen.”

Both Labor and the coalition promised to build the station ahead of the 2010 State election.

Three years since the campaign commenced with the coalition coming to government no
contract has been signed and no construction has commenced.

“It seems ironic that the announcement about the land purchase was made in Fire Action
Week last year, and Mt Helen residents have now seen a further year of inaction on the site,” said Mr Howard.

“The Baillieu and now Napthine government have been too slow to deliver on their promises to the people of Mt Clear and Mt Helen.”

This important Fire Station should have been built and should have been operational for this fire season,” he said.

Mr Howard also noted other Coalition promises yet to be constructed include the Whitehorse Road roundabout upgrade, which was funded in the 2010 budget of outgoing Labor government, upgrade works along the Yarrowee creek and the promised helipad at
the Ballarat Hospital.