At its August Ordinary Meeting Boorowa Council endorsed the recommendations of the South West Slopes RFS Liaison Committee on a preferred site for a new combined zone and regional RFS headquarters.
The liaison committee consists of a combination of RFS volunteers, RFS staff and representatives from Boorowa, Harden, Cootamundra and Young Councils.
The liaison committee had previously recommended to the four Councils that the site for the new $4.1m (estimated) facility be at a proposed site in Young with the recommendation based around a comprehensive site evaluation process.
The evaluation process included an initial site analysis undertaken by the committee with the support of consultants; an external audit of the initial analysis which was requested by Harden Shire and which found no major shortcomings in the process; and finally a further site analysis undertaken by RFS senior managers from Sydney.
According to Boorowa Mayor Wendy Tuckerman there was considerable debate around a decision from Boorowa Council on the best site.
“The decision was by no means unanimous which I think reflects the fact that it has not been an easy decision making process” she said.
“It is also worth noting that it was actually Cootamundra Shires representative on the RFS Liaison Committee that initially supported the site being in Young before the Cootamundra Council changed its mind when the recommendation went before the Council” she said.
The decision to develop a new headquarters has followed recommendations from RFS with the support of volunteers who have identified significant deficiencies in the current zone headquarters.
The new fire control centre and regional headquarters is not expected to cost Boorowa ratepayers anything additional to what is contributed to the RFS.
Councils currently contribute 11.7 per cent of the total costs of RFS within the zone and rather than find additional funding for the Councils contribution the RFS has worked with volunteers to identify savings over the next four years which includes purchasing quality second hand tankers rather than new tankers.
“One of the important aspects for our Council is that the Council that hosts the new facility is required to pay the 11.7 per cent Council contribution towards the servicing costs such as access, water and sewer, electricity, gas and telecommunications,” said Mayor Tuckerman.
With Boorowa Councils decision it means that the four Councils have not reached a majority decision on the new site with the decision now back in the hands of the RFS.
“I am looking forward to a decision on where the site will be so that we can move forwards and focus on what is important which is ensuring our volunteers and RFS staff have the facilities required to be able to manage bushfires across the zone,” said Mayor Tuckerman.
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