Council agrees to purchase CFA site

Published on 08 August 2017

Council building

Nillumbik Shire Council has agreed to go ahead with the purchase of the old CFA site in Eltham should the State Government make it available.

The decision was made at last week’s Ordinary Meeting of Council, adding the site at 909 Main Road, Eltham to a larger block of land already owned by the Council.

Mayor Peter Clarke said Council would now request a meeting with the Emergency Services Minister to understand the future of the site.

“If the State Government offers this site to the Council, the strategic decision is to purchase it,” Cr Clarke said.

“We will meet with the Minister to agree on the terms and conditions of the old CFA site sale, but as Mayor I’m concerned about the broader safety of our community when I’m told by our local CFA that the relationship with FRV (Fire Rescue Victoria) is ‘unsustainable’ especially heading into the fire season.”

A letter to Councillors from the Eltham CFA was tabled in last night’s Ordinary Council Meeting outlining tensions surrounding the dual located FRV and CFA site.

The letter jointly signed by 13 Eltham CFA volunteers said “tensions between staff and volunteers have been increasing and what used to be a productive and harmonious environment is now substantially less so with some staff refusing to interact with volunteers at all either in a training capacity or even when simply on station despite the best efforts of volunteers. This has created an unsustainable working environment which we believe will not work if the foreshadowed legislation is approved.”

The Council noted Eltham volunteer CFA’s preference to return to the old site and the service is split between the two sites.

“Eltham volunteers have protected this community for over 90 years and my concern following a long, dry winter is the potential risk to community safety due to this disconnect,” Cr Clarke said.

“I’m concerned with the commentary from the CFA volunteers surrounding their capacity to fulfil their important role in protecting our community given current legislative framework that the State Government has foreshadowed.”