CFA needs your help

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Construction work has started for Coldstream CFA’s new fire station as the brigade continues community fundraising efforts, despite being limited by Covid-19.

In March last year, captain Sean Bethell shared the news that the CFA would be moving ahead with building a new station for Coldstream’s fire brigade. The plans are now 12 years in the making as the project experienced many “false starts”.

Mr Bethell shared that earthworks had begun on the 7 Killara Road site and that he is hopeful for a July or August completion date. He said that while the CFA is funding the new station, they would be relying on community fundraising and donations to cover additional costs and upgrades that would be placed on the brigade.

CFA chief officer Jason Heffernan joined Harriett Shing MP, executive director infrastructure services Anthony Ramsay, District 13 assistant chief fire officer Colin Brown and Coldstream captain Sean Bethell for a sod turn for the $1.5 million Killara Road fire station on Friday 26 March.

Mr Heffernan said it was going to be exciting to see the new station take shape over the next few months.

“Coldstream is a really busy brigade that attends fires, motor vehicle accidents and many other emergency incidents on the urban fringe and throughout the Yarra Valley and indeed in support of other regions and states, and I’m really pleased to see this new station come to fruition,” he said.

“As CFA moves forward as a volunteer-only firefighting organisation, we are committed to providing our firefighters with the best infrastructure, equipment and support that we can so we can continue to fulfill our mission of saving lives and property.”

The new fit-for-purpose, three engine bay station will provide the Coldstream CFA’s 40 strong members with a large meeting room for training and brigade meetings and better amenities including male and female change rooms, on-site parking, workshop, storage and other operational support areas.

Mr Bethell said the large meeting room will allow Coldstream CFA to host nearby theory training sessions for new recruits across the Yarra Valley, while also being available for community needs.

“It will be utilised not only by our brigade but by the group of brigades that are around us,” he said.

“For the brigade, it’s a big improvement to our capacity to support our own and neighbouring communities.”

The brigade soon plans to be collecting community donations at a farmer’s market at Punt Road Winery as well as collection points at a few traffic intersections, Covid restrictions permitting.

“It’s probably all we’ve got the ability to do at the moment, we’re also hoping to do a letterbox drop to businesses in the Coldstream response area to see if they want to help support us with donations,” Mr Bethell said.

The brigade is hoping to tally $65,000 in the short term that will cover the costs of equipment upgrades and modifications to the building, while Mr Bethell said he has plans to see solar panels installed in the new station.

“Hopefully it will allow us to serve the community better than what we have been with our old facilities,” he said.

To donate to the brigade’s fundraiser, visit: https://bit.ly/3sSY5iN or www.CFA.vic.gov.au/about/supporting-CFA and locate the Coldstream brigade to donate.