It’s been more than three years in the making, but the new Oakford Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade Station, has edged a little closer to something tangible.
This month the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale has finalised the concept plans for the station building layout and the site layout at Pony Place in Oakford.
The station building will house specialist training rooms, and bushfire exercise facilities. The site will also accommodate more vehicles with 28 designated parking bays.
With their new facilities the brigade will be able to accommodate significant training opportunities, vehicle and equipment maintenance, and a 24/7 response effort.
Planning is continuing in consultation with the Oakford Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade and the Serpentine Jarrahdale Emergency Support Brigade.
Shire officers are currently engaging consultants for ground water investigations, preparing an application for power supply and finalising the project plan and construction schedule.
The shire first began to investigate a new home for the Oakford station in 2020 after it was determined that the current much-loved but ageing facilities were reaching the end of their useable life.
“One of the key concerns about the current facilities is that they can’t support the function of interim incident control centres, which are demountable buildings that appear during a major emergency event,” Cr Morgan Byas said previously.
“It’s just gotten to the point where we need to upgrade the facilities, for the future of the Oakford area.”
Unfortunately, the station is currently housed on private land with a short-term rental agreement in place. It became clear that upgrading the existing facility was not possible.
After community feedback was sought, in August 2020 council voted to endorse a 2ha portion of State Government-owned land off Pony Place in Oakford as the preferred location for the new site.
In mid-2021 a petition was circulated around the community to pressure the state government to fund the new facility.
As part of the 2021 Local Government Grants Scheme, the Shire was awarded the opportunity for a 10-year self-supporting loan in order to fund the new Oakford Bushire Brigade base.
“The shire did not seek a self-supporting loan, rather the shire sought a $1.105m capital grant in order to deliver the brigade building,” shire officers said.
“A self-supporting loan option, instead, offers council the opportunity to undertake a 10-year loan from WA Treasury Corporation, with the principal and interest payments of this loan to be met entirely by State Government DFES.”
The shire said it is still negotiating the funding agreement with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
In April this year, the council approved the development application for the build.
“This approval ensures our brigade will have a permanent home for a very long time,” Oakford Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade Captain Mike Ross said.
The shire has not yet released details of when the first sod will be turned on the new station, but have said the construction should take around 12 months to complete.
“Once a timeline for design and construction is finalised, we will share this information with our community,” council officers said.