Shire of Gnowangerup votes to support move of Ongerup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade to sporting complex

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenGreat Southern Herald
Ongerup Bush Fire Brigade is currently based with St John Ambulance.
Camera IconOngerup Bush Fire Brigade is currently based with St John Ambulance. Credit: Bahnfrend/Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 4.0

Firefighters in Ongerup might soon get a new station to call home, with the local council approving a plan, which would relocate the brigade to new premises.

Ongerup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade has been co-located with the local St John Ambulance sub-branch for more than 15 years, but the brigade is now likely to relocate to the Ongerup Sporting Complex.

An inspection undertaken by Gnowangerup Shire Council building surveyor Matt Bowen in November found the ceiling of the existing building was showing signs of sagging and the external wall cladding on one side had gaps, which needed to be fixed.

There were also issues with flashings on the roof and the building’s lack of universal access.

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After St John Ambulance inquired about funding for the repairs, they were informed by Shire staff they would not be eligible for emergency services levy funding due to the council not owning the building.

“On closer investigation no records could be found of the Shire ever contributing financially towards any cost of the building (including maintenance, power and water), even though the Ongerup Bushfire Brigade has been co-located with SJA for a considerable number of years,” Shire finance and emergency services officer Arnie van Zyl said in his report to councillors.

“The same was found to be true for the co-located facility in Borden.”

After that discovery, Ongerup VBFB and chief bush fire control officer Darren Baum held a meeting, which led to the proposal of a move to the sporting complex.

Ongerup Sporting Complex secretary Dimity McMorran said the organisation “wholeheartedly” supported the move to the complex.

“One consideration we request is, that in the planning, a large rainwater tank be included to catch water off the new emergency shed and also the current complex building which could then be used for washing of vehicles,” he said.

Gnowangerup Shire councillors voted unanimously to approve the relocation to the complex on March 23, with the council set to apply for funding from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services for a two-bay facility.

The council will now consider whether to fund part of the operating costs for the Ongerup and Borden St John Ambulance sub centres as part of its 2022-23 budget deliberations.

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