By Michael Doran
The Hoddles Creek CFA has run out of space and is storing vital equipment off-site.
The brigage’s station is not suited to the demands it faces and the need for a new one has been an issue for some time.
But to rebuild the facility, the CFA needs access to the unused, adjacent land controlled by VicRoads.
Eildon MP Cindy McLeish called on the State Government in Parliament to transfer the vacant land from VicRoads to the CFA.
She said it did not get used any more.
“The brigade has already got some access to VicRoads land behind the station where they park their cars, but access is needed beside the station so it can be rebuilt,” Ms McLeish said.
The Hoddles Creek brigade is one of the oldest in the district and its station dates back to the 1970s.
While well-maintained by the brigade, the station shows obvious signs that it needs replacing.
“Hoddles Creek is now getting closer to the top of the CFA list for rebuilding and that’s why securing the land we need has become more urgent,” the brigade’s first lieutenant Graham Boyd said.
He pointed out how the cramped and outdated facility was impacting day-to-day operations.
“Just to get the truck out we need to manually open the main door with a pulley, drive it out and then manually close it again,” he said.
“It just adds more time when it could be done with a remote control.”
Third lieutenant Brett Kerford said the station had already been extended to house a third truck, but the cramped conditions were now stretched to the limit.
“We are a three-vehicle station and with bigger tankers we struggle to fit them in,” he said.
“Our newest truck barely fits under the main door and we have to move it out to give crews clear access to jump in.
“Our other tanker is more than 20 years old and will need replacing in the near future, so that’s another reason why the issue of a bigger station is getting more urgent.”
Hoddles Creek is the designated catering provider for the district but does not have the room to store the food preparation equipment on-site.
“At the Yellingbo fire earlier this year there were around 30 trucks there and we supplied all the catering,” Mr Kerford said.
“To do that our volunteers had to go off-site to get the equipment, hook it up and then get it to the fireground.
“Not having it here at the station just makes it harder for us to do our job.”
Ms McLeish said that it made sense to plan for the future now by transferring the land to the CFA.
“Regardless of when a new station is built, the issue of available land needs to be resolved, and there is no reason this process cannot begin now,” she said.