CFA work to get back on track

AN upgrade to the Maffra CFA training track is closer to happening after a discrepancy in land ownership was rectified.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries has agreed to discontinue part of the Boisdale St road reserve, on which the training track is located.

The move has allowed Wellington Shire Council to provide $10,000 to the brigade to upgrade the track ahead of it hosting the eastern region fire brigade championships next year.

The event will be held as part of the brigade’s centenary celebrations.

Maffra CFA last year asked Wellington Shire Council for funding to reseal the bitumen track, which has been affected by tree roots.

The project initially cost $44,000, but a more recent quote has the cost at about $60,000.

Investigation about the site revealed there was no agreement between council, as land manager, the brigade or the CFA to use the land.

The land ownership issue needed to be resolved before council could provide funding.

The training facility is located in a road reserve, classified a public park and recreation zone, surrounded by Boisdale St.

Council is not permitted to lease or licence an open roadway for a permanent structure, such as the CFA 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.

In December council asked the Department of Sustainability and Environment to discontinue part of the road reserve.

The request was approved by DSE successor, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries .

Council will contribute $10,000, with the Maffra CFA needing to source the remaining funds.

Barry Bennett from the brigade said the track was not in a proper state to host the eastern region championships.

“If don’t get something done to it, it will just become an eyesore,” he said.

“The track itself is starting to break up; it’s got cracks in it nearly an inch wide.”

Mr Bennett said other members of the community used the facility.

“A lot of people who take their young kids down there to learn how to ride their bikes.

“There’s one group go around there and do a lot of exercises at least once a week,” Mr Bennett said.

On top of the track upgrade, Mr Bennett said the water main also needed to be replaced, costing the brigade another $13,000.