Station delay frustrates brigade

Craigieburn Fire Brigade captain Chris Gray says firefighters are frustrated the suburb’s new fire station remains unbuilt, more than four years after it was announced by the state government.

In April 2018, then Emergency Services Minister James Merlino announced $13 million would be included in the 2018-19 state budget to build an integrated fire station, which would house career and volunteer firefighters.

In May last year, a state government spokesperson told Star Weekly the project remained in the land acquisition phase.

Mr Gray said the fire brigade had reached out to the subsequent emergency services ministers, as well as Yuroke MP Ros Spence for updates, to no avail.

“About 18 months ago we started asking some questions because we hadn’t heard anything and we got a letter back saying it’s still a proposed co-located brigade and the announcement still holds,” Mr Gray said.

“We’re frustrated with the lack of movement on this project and the lack of communication regarding any updates.”

Last week, a state government spokesperson told Star Weekly that a suitable site for the new station has been identified between Dorchester Street and Lygon Drive.

The spokesperson said final land purchase activities were under way.

However, Mr Gray said the brigade was yet to be notified that a site had been found.

Despite learning about the land acquisition from the Star Weekly, Mr Gray said he hadn’t been directly contacted yet.

“In an official capacity, that hasn’t come to me yet,” he said.

The new Craigieburn Fire Station will ensure that our firefighters can continue to keep the Craigieburn community protected now and into the future,” the spokesperson said.

“FRV will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure the new station meets operational and local community needs.”

The new station will replace the brigade’s current station on Belsay Place, and will include space for up to five fire trucks, as well as bed accommodation for 12 firefighters.

At least eight career firefighters would be based at the station, the government said in April 2018.