Dondingalong officially has their new Rural Fire Service Station after the facility was officially opened today in the presence of The Hon Catherine Cusack MLC, State Member for Oxley, The Hon Melinda Pavey and NSW RFS Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald AFSM joined by Kempsey Council representatives and NSW RFS leaders, members and guests.
The new headquarters features three truck bays, an office, training area, storage space and new toilet and shower facilities. Power was upgraded at the site and the carpark was resealed.
The building had CCTV installed and water tanks to service the building and to support firefighting purposes.
New facilities is a positive change for the RFS after the tumultuous fire seasons throughout 2019 and 2020.
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"All of our brigades in the last 12 and 18 months have been through what I can only describe as an awful and traumatic period," NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald said.
"We ask our people to see and do all sorts of things but I know in the season last year was the worst I've seen in 40 years of being in this organisation.. it was all over NSW - it was damaging and devastating."
Dondingalong brigade is one of the busiest with the Kempsey Local Government Area with a new facility required to accommodate the amount of RFS members and roll out of new RFS vehicles.
"Historically, Dondingalong brigade in our local area has always been one of our stronger brigades with memberships up around 70, and like all brigades was well and truly busy in the last 12 months so it's a good opportunity to be here today at this new facility," RFS Lower North Coast Superintendent Lachlann Ison said at today's presentation.
Kempsey Shire Council assisted the RFS in the project by contributing funding, the land and undertaking the project management associated with the design and construction of the new building. Council also engaged Osborne and Dowling Pty Ltd to construct the new station.
"We know how much this means to Steve (Dondingalong Brigade Captain) and everyone at the brigade, this state of the art facility was designed not only to house the three fire trucks here but to bring that collaboration into the community and provide an area for meeting, training and importantly workshops and have somewhere where people say this is where we meet, this is our place," Mayor Liz Campbell said.
Dondingalong Brigade Captain Steve Sproule previously told the Argus the brigade was using the community hall for training and thus the new station would mean that could be given back.
The old station has been transferred to the Kalateenee Reserve.
"We'll be able to give back the community hall to locals to use for events when the new station is built," Mr Sproule said last year.