Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Director denies fire training facility closure

Despite a review being carried out on the Deniliquin Fire Brigade Training Facility, NSW Fire & Rescue director education and training Gail Wykes has denied claims it will close.

TYLA HARRINGTON February 21, 2014 4:20am

NSW Fire & Rescue director education and training Gail Wykes has denied claims the Deniliquin Fire Brigade Training Facility will close.

Rumours have been circulating that the training facility, which is located at the Deniliquin Airport, will be closed.

Mrs Wykes told the Pastoral Times the rumours were false, however admitted a review had been carried out on the training facility.

She said there were no plans to relocate or close the facility, but made no promises the facility would remain open until the lease is due to be renewed in 2016.

‘‘I’m not sure what will happen between now and then,’’ she said.

‘‘The result (of the review) is we need to strategically plan where our training centres are and have a look at that ... we’re balancing out how much they are used.’’

There are four training centres in regional NSW, at Albion Park, Wellington, Armidale and Deniliquin.

Deniliquin’s training facility, which opened in 1996, is responsible for training 900 NSW Fire and Rescue staff every two years and, on average, an additional 50 recruits each year.

Inside the training building includes rooms for dining, recreational use and office use. Outside is a suitable area for fire training.

Local firefighters train there every month and visiting personnel every fortnight. External clients such as SunRice and Murray Irrigation also use the facility.

The facility also has one full-time employee and two fire trucks and firefighting equipment, which is at no cost to the municipality.

The facility is also regarded as a valuable economic benefit to the town.

NSW Fire and Rescue Captain Phil Dowling admitted he had not heard the rumour, of the closure however a senior firefighter, who did not want to be named, said he had.

Capt Dowling said if it were to close ‘‘it wouldn’t be good’’ for the community.

Deniliquin Council general manager Des Bilske said had known about the review of the training facilities.

‘‘We haven’t been informed that ours is closing down.

‘‘I’m led to believe our facility is one of the best available, so it would be unusual if they closed it down.’’

The facility is on Crown Land and is being leased from council, Mr Bilske said.

He said he would ‘‘anticipate’’ council would be informed if a decision had been reached.

Mr Bilske also said council would be prepared to fight for the facility to remain open.

‘‘Council definitely doesn’t want it to close,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a great facility for the town, employs local people and brings people to the area.

‘‘We always lobby to maintain any facility we have and with this facility it would be exactly the same.’’

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