Brigade facility to stay?

WELLINGTON Shire Council has attempted to hose down any suggestion Maffra Fire Brigade could move its training facility.

Council will request the Department of Sustainability and Environment discontinue the Boisdale St road reserve and allow for the brigade’s facility to remain there.

A discrepancy in land ownership was discovered while the brigade was seeking government funding to upgrade the facility.

The brigade is hoping to host the 2014 state fire brigade championships as part of celebrations for its centenary.

The training track is located in a tree-lined centre median strip in Boisdale St, a three-chain road.

The fenced and floodlit facility is located within a government road reserve of which council is the road manager.

Under the Wellington Planning Scheme the centre portion of the road reserve is classified a public park and recreation zone, although the whole road reserve is managed by council as a road.

Council is not allowed to lease or licence an open roadway for a permanent structure, such as the brigade’s training facility.

The issue can be traced back to the 1960s when Maffra Shire Council ignored advice from the state department managing Crown land not to allow for the training facility to be constructed.

A similar situation exists for the Sale Fire Brigade training facility in Brennan Park, which is Crown Land and reserved as a public park and recreation reserve.

Council, which manages the land on behalf of the Crown, has a lease with the Country Fire Authority for the Sale training facility.

Council could enter into similar arrangement to resolve the land tenure issue in Maffra, but would need to apply to the DSE to discontinue part of the Boisdale St road reserve and have it created as a public purposes reserve.

Once the reserve is discontinued, council would apply to be appointed as the land manager and enter into a lease with the CFA and maintain the current facility.

The CFA has written to council committing to enter into such an arrangement.

Maffra Croquet Club and Girl Guides Hall are also located within the Boisdale St road reserve and are also impacted by the anomaly. Similar agreements would need to be reached once the road reserve was discontinued.