Brigade laments inaction

Clyde CFA volunteers with Bass MP Jordan Crugnale. Pictures: SUPPLIED

By Emily Chapman Laing

A member of the Clyde CFA has spoken out about the team “getting fed up with empty promises of a new station“.

Clyde CFA station currently sits on rail land on Railway Road, Clyde.

A new railway line and train station is earmarked for the property on which the station sits, meaning the team has to move their station to a new location.

Funding for the new station was announced in December 2020 as part of Bass MP Jordan Crugnale’s election promises.

A member of the Clyde CFA said there has been “zero progress on anything“ in the two and a half years since the funding was secured.

“There is government funding that has been allocated and CFA and the government have been promising to acquire land and build a new station for years, which to date has not happened,“ they said.

“Out volunteer members are fed up with the uncertainty of what will become of us and our station when the land is acquired back by rail.“

The Clyde CFA member alleged there has been much back and forth between the government and CFA in regards to the new station, with “CFA saying one thing and government saying another“.

“CFA and the government have been very shady around the whole process, continually placing the blame on the other for land not having been acquired,“ they said.

The member said the alleged hot-potato of acquiring land is having a negative impact on the Clyde CFA.

“The whole process is really disappointing for members, we constantly feel like we are being let down,“ they said.

“There have been several occasions where our Captain has been told that land has been secured, to only be told a few weeks later that “something“ has gone wrong, with no details provided or an explanation and that they are once again on the search for land.

“It makes our captain look foolish every time he feels that he can deliver the news that there is progress, only to be let down again.“

The members are also concerned for their health, with funding for important safety measures being allegedly knocked back on the basis of the team getting a new station.

“Our engine bay where the trucks are stored is in the same room as all of our turn out gear – meaning that emissions from the vehicles when they are started are dispersed all over our turn out gear, as well as us breathing it in while we are getting dressed,“ the Clyde CFA member said.

“Because of this we applied for a CFA VESEP grant to have whirly birds installed in the roof of the engine bay to reduce the emissions.

“This grant has been rejected on the basis that we are ’getting a new station’, so our health and safety is at risk if they are not going to provide a new station anytime soon or comply with the installation of the whirly birds as an interim solution to reduce the risk.“

Clyde CFA members were allegedly asked to source locations for the new precinct, with each suggestion “not being followed up“, or being “declined without reason“.

Locations offered included the corner of Valetta and Railway Road, and the corner of Ballarto and Tuckers Road.

A spokesperson for the CFA has responded saying sourcing land for a new station is “time consuming and complex“.

“And made even more difficult because Clyde is located in a significant urban growth corridor,“ they said.

“CFA recognises the current Clyde Station needs to be replaced and is actively focused on working with the Victorian Government on finding a suitable location to build a new station.“

A spokesperson for the Victorian Government said the Community Safety Building Authority is “looking for an appropriate site to support the relocation of the CFA Clyde Fir Station“, alongside the CFA.

“We will continue to work with the CFA to identify and support its infrastructure priorities and resourcing needs,“ they said.