So what changes need to be made to the station that are so expensive?
The renovations to the station are neither unnecessary or extravagant, they are essential renovations that can be summarised as:
- Fix the drainage at the rear of the station.
- Replace the asbestos roof and ceiling with tin and plasterboard.
- Extend the front of the engine bay by 1.6 metres in order to fit new appliances in the station.
In addition to the above changes, a few other modifications will need to be made in order for the structure to meet the Building Code of Australia.
Fix the Drainage
Although there is currently a trench drain at the rear of the station (along the back wall of the engine bay) this regularly overflows, and as a result water floods the engine bay, station store-room, training room and meeting room. This provides an unacceptable safety risk (because of the wet floors) and causes further damage to the station (walls, carpets, furniture etc) each time the station floods.
The proposed new drainage solution is expected to involve a deeper trench and larger piping into the storm water drain
Replace the asbestos roof and ceiling with tin and plasterboard
The roofing over the engine bay and training room is currently corrugated asbestos and many of the ceiling panels are asbestos sheets. This asbestos material needs to be replaced with modern (and less dangerous) building materials because:
- The degrading material causes health concerns both for the members of the fire brigade, and the neighbouring Kindergarten.
- Repairs and additions on the structure (even on non-asbestos products) is expensive or un-achievable because of builders’ (understandable) reluctance to work with or near asbestos. As a result, we have been unable to fix or replace parts of the station which have fallen down (eg the fascia boards above the engine bays).
The proposed works involve replacing the roofing material with tin, while raising the roof height slightly to allow much needed new fire appliances to fit in the station. The few ceiling panels that are made of asbestos will be replaced with plasterboard sheets.
Extend the front of the engine bay
The current length and height of the engine bay (where the fire appliances are parked) is not adequate for today’s generation of fire appliances. Even the appliances Stirling currently have are a tight squeeze, in one case on fitting with about 10 centimetres to spare above the cab.
In order to replace Stirling’s current ageing fleet (currently ranging from 30 years to 10 years old) with newer, safer appliances; we need to increase the size of the station. The added 1.6 metres at the front of the engine bay and increased height of the roof will allow us to upgrade our fleet, and be ready for future appliances.
The resulting fire station from the renovations will not be “a Taj Mahal” , but be adequate enough for the Brigade to respond to emergencies from a safe and appropriate workplace, with modern fire appliances.