MONTHS of speculation has come to an end with the site for Sale’s new 24 hour police station confirmed as the former gaol site on the corner of Reeve and Foster Sts, Sale.
Officially announcing the state government’s purchase of the site on Friday, Gippsland South MLA and Police and Emergency Services Minister Peter Ryan said the next stage of the project would involve Victoria Police beginning the planning process in consultation with Wellington Shire Council and interested stakeholder groups.
But he could not confirm funding from the budget to be announced in May next year.
“We have acquired the site, it was on the market for many years and it’s great to have it now, purchased by the government, secured for the police and hopefully we can see the construction undertaken post next year’s budget,” he said.
“But I cannot pre-empt the budget, the budget will need to take its course, and the budget and expenditure review committee, of which I am part, we are now into the process of shaping the budget for next year, so we will see the outcome as that takes its course.
“But without a shadow of a doubt, very obviously, this is going to be built; the question is when, it is not a question of if any longer.”
The new station, which is estimated to cost about $15 million, will feature public consultation and interview rooms, staff amenities including a mess room, change rooms and a gymnasium, conference and training room facilities that can be adopted for emergency situation management purposes along with short term custodial holding rooms, a custodial area and administration work areas.
Mr Ryan said the station would be able to accommodate 63 officers, comprising a uniform branch, criminal investigation unit, highway patrol, police prosecutors as well as the sexual offences and child abuse unit, with only a small portion of the site on the corner of Foster and Reeve Sts to remain undeveloped.
There will also be a dedicated space for Justices’ of the Peace, who are currently available to witness documents at Sale police station on Wednesdays and Fridays between 11am and 2pm.
A portion of the former prison wall will be retained and incorporated into the building’s design.
“What we are going to have here is an absolute first class state of the art facility; there will be new training facilities, (and) it will have state of the art technology that will be part of the fit out,” Mr Ryan said.
“We are going to have something which is appropriate to the future of policing in our region.
“As we know, the police station as it now exists has absolutely had its day, it is not up to scratch.
“It’s more than 30 years old, it is the oldest 24 hour police station in this state, east of Dandenong, and it is time that it went for the police officers and the administrative staff working within it.”
Wellington Police Service Area chief inspector Mick McGinn said he was excited about the announcement.
“We have been doing some work in the background for a little while now, looking at what the future of policing in this area might look like,” he said.
“I think that this will give us an opportunity to create an absolutely first class police facility for the community in Sale.
“We’ve got a whole host of new initiatives put through that building that will certainly allow us to very much better engage with the local community and get everybody on board with policing the community down here and delivering really good outcomes.
“We are looking forward to seeing the project progressing, hopefully in the not too distant future.”