Construction began on the NSW Rural Fire Service's new Area Western Command facility at Cowra on Tuesday afternoon, marking the beginning of a new era in firefighting across the region.
Flanked by Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke and Cowra mayor Bill West, RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers turned the first sod on the $2.6 million facility, which will provide state-of-the-art facilities and enhance staff and volunteers' day-to-day operations.
Commissioner Rogers said the facility will help the RFS continue their around the clock support of communities in the region, which covers more than half of the state, with areas like Cowra, Orange, Bathurst, Lithgow and Dubbo all in that catchment.
This brand new, first class building will provide a tremendous boost to ... one of seven NSW RFS areas across the state, as well as the local community.Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke
Area Western actually extends as far as Harden in the south-west and all the way to Wilcannia and Brewarrina in the western and northern reaches of the state, respectively.
"Following a restructure of the NSW RFS, Cowra was chosen as the optimum site of the Command base for the Western Area and everyone is looking forward to working from the one location," he said.
He continued, saying the new facility will help the RFS' continued commitment to providing volunteer firefighters with the resources they need to carry out their roles safely, which they do in conjunction with state and local governments.
"Members of the almost 450 brigades in the Western Area continue to protect their communities from grass, bush and crop fires as well as a diverse array of incidents like motor vehicle accidents and support to other agencies," he explained.
"In addition to responding to incidents and attending fires further afield, brigades regularly undertake community engagement within the local community and facilities such as this continue to enhance this capacity from a central point."
Ms Cooke said the new Area Command building will provide a 'tremendous boost'.
"This brand new, first class building will provide a tremendous boost to ... one of seven NSW RFS areas across the state, as well as the local community," she said.
"This building will include office space for all Area Command staff, welfare amenities such as kitchenettes and bathrooms, and multi-purpose usage including storage for mitigation and brigade equipment.
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In addition to NSW RFS Area operations, this site will also house and support the Waugoola Brigade and Air Base.
Construction of the new facility on Johnstone Way, Cowra, is due for completion by December 2021.
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