SES now has room to move

THE revamp of the Coffs Harbour City SES headquarters is a fitting reward for our long-suffering rescuers.

For years they've endured cramped conditions at their Park Ave base but the extensions give them more room to move for training and emergency operations.

Local SES controller Bob White says the hard-won improvements took 18 years to achieve and he won't rest until a new and even better HQ takes shape.

“I'm very pleased to have reached this point. You think how long it's been going on for to finally get here,” Mr White said at Tuesday night's official opening.

“Unfortunately it is still not enough. This unit desperately needs a modern, up-to-date headquarters with an emergency operations centre on a site large enough to operate far more efficiently and effectively than it does now.

“The City of Coffs Harbour needs the SES. In the past 14 years, this city has suffered two major floods and many smaller ones, a mini-cyclone, innumerable storms and we have even recorded tsunamis in the harbour.”

The SES and the city council shared the $300,000 cost of the new training room, affectionately termed ‘Bob's Baby' because of Mr White's relentless lobbying to bring it to fruition.

The facility was filled on Tuesday night with top brass and volunteers from all local and regional emergency services who work so closely during catastrophes.

SES Commissioner Murray Kear told the crowd SES units were more about the people who worked there than bricks and mortar were.

“We are people who meet community members on the worst days of their lives, so we need good facilities for training,” Mr Kear said.

He presented long service awards to unit members Noel Furness (20 years), Wally Mulholland (20 years) and Ian Christensen (30 years), and recognised the world-class achievements of the local team which competed at the recent World Rescue Challenge/World Trauma Challenge/Australasian Road Rescue Organisation Challenge.

Mr White and his troops will now continue their push for a new HQ, no matter how long it takes.

While the city council has set aside land off Coramba Rd for the new site, Mr White says the ideal location would be on the corner of Beryl St and the Pacific Hwy if that's where a new police station and courthouse is to eventually go.

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