New buildings bolster fire response

Two volunteer bushfire brigades in the Shire of Dardanup are now better equipped to respond to emergencies and further develop the skills of their members following the official opening today (Thursday, January 13) of their new brigade buildings.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson, Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns, Dardanup Brigade Captain Wayne Cross & DFES Fire Commissioner Darren Klemm

Emergency Services Minister, Honourable Stephen Dawson MLC opened the new $600,000, purpose-built Dardanup Central Bushfire Brigade Building and the Waterloo Bushfire Brigade Building which has received a $490,000 renovation and extension.

Also in attendance at the ceremonies was Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm, Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns and Shire of Dardanup Deputy Shire President Tyrrell Gardiner.

Aboriginal Elder Lera Bennell provided a Welcome To Country and moving performances were provided by “Bindjareb Middars” (Pinjarra Dancers) at both sites to bring good luck.

In opening the buildings, Mr Dawson said: “It is fantastic to open two new fire stations in Western Australia’s South-West, which will help local volunteers continue to provide a vital service to the region.”

“The site for the Waterloo station has particular historical significance for locals – it was originally built in 1898 and has been vacant for some time, so it’s pleasing to find a new purpose for the area.

Mr Dawson also presented Waterloo Bushfire Brigade Member Kingsley Palmer with a rarely-awarded medal for 60 years of service.

Funding for the Dardanup Central building was achieved with thanks to a $450,000 grant via the State Government’s 2020/21 $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan designed to stimulate the WA economy following national Covid-19 lockdown measures.

The grant was administered by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) under the Local Government Grant Scheme (LGGS).

Additional contributions included a $90,000 bequest by the late Mr Alexander Poad – who was dedicated to community service throughout his life – and facilitated by the Dardanup Branch of the Australian Red Cross plus a $45,000 Council contribution.

Waterloo Brigade Member Kingsley Palmer receives his 60 Year Service Medal from Minister Dawson.

Dardanup Red Cross Unit Liaison Officer Gwen Wells provided an overview of Mr Poad’s life including his work as a Fire Control Officer for Crooked Brook, saying he performed his duties with “much zeal and enthusiasm”.

Funding for improvements to the Waterloo brigade building were also achieved via a $393,000 LGGS grant administered by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and Council contributions totalling $97,554.

Works at both sites were completed by Shire Contractor CEM Alliance.

Cr Tyrrell Gardiner said the benefits of Dardanup’s new purpose-built brigade building would strengthen the response in an emergency.

“The new building is fitted with appliance bays, training and communication rooms, modern amenities, a kitchen and an office,” Cr Gardiner said.

“There is also now the ability to use the building as an incident command centre if necessary as well as access to generator power in the event of a power outage along with a back-up water source if mains are turned off thanks to installation of a water tanks also achieved with funding via Covid Stimulus projects.”

Both brigades have been in operation since the 1940s and each have approximately 50 members.

Ms Hanns said: “As the member for Collie-Preston, I am thrilled today to see the opening of both the Dardanup Central Bushfire Brigade Station and Waterloo Bushfire Brigade Stations.”

“It is pleasing that these volunteers will have access to a new facility, which will enhance their ability to continue to keep the local community safe and respond to bushfire emergencies.”