Promising: The SES has identified a site in Beryl Street for its new premises.
Promising: The SES has identified a site in Beryl Street for its new premises.

SES needs a new home

LONG-term housing for the State Emergency Services was the topic of considerable discussion at Thursday’s Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

While an internal staff team in conjunction with the SES recommended that council support the State Forests site on the corner of Beryl Street and the Pacific Highway for a new SES headquarters, councillors were generally not in favour.

This site is owned by the State Government which proposes to redevelop the land to include government offices, a new police station and court house.

Cr Jennifer Bonfield said she strongly believed the SES should be relocated to a site at the airport near the Rural Fire Service hub.

Cr Mark Graham said in that case SES members would require either a snorkel or a hovercraft and offered to show a series of photographs of the site representing ‘an inland sea’ after it was inundated on March 31 and April 1 last year.

The mayor, Keith Rhoades, who is sensitive about the level of flooding on the low-lying land the council is developing near the airport, angrily rejected Cr Graham’s ‘site specific’ comments saying “the airport was never closed for general traffic and we don’t want to scare people”.

Councillors finally decided to support, as their preferred location for a new SES building, a site on the northern side of Coramba Road just west of the Shephards Lane roundabout.

Council has just approved a tender for 134 square metres of air-conditioned office space for the SES at its current premises in 29 Park Avenue, at a cost of close to $300,000. This is considered a short- to medium-term solution to providing facilities for the 80-odd members of the Coffs Harbour SES and relieving their lack of office and storage space.

The cost will be shared between the council and the SES and the extension is expected to be finished by March 2011. The project includes an electrical upgrade.



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