Horsham Men's Shed, St John Ambulance take over old station

HORSHAM Men’s Shed and St John Ambulance will share use of the city’s old ambulance station. 

Paramedics moved from the building in O’Callaghan Parade to a new $2.6-million station in Urquhart Street in May last year. 

Horsham Rural City Council bought the land for long-term redevelopment. 

It is negotiating with the two community groups for shared use of the station for the next five years. 

St John Ambulance Horsham division’s ambulance was left homeless when the O’Callaghan Parade station closed.

Division manager Loris Zaal said the ambulance’s roof was rusting after being exposed to Horsham’s weather. 

“It is unbelievable to be able to use the station, because the vehicle has been stored at an ex-member’s property for almost two years,” she said. 

“All the first-aid equipment is at my house, which is 30 kilometres from Horsham. 

“The beauty of using the old station is that it will all be stored in the one place.”

The division raised $14,000 for a new shed before council offered it the use of the old station. 

Mrs Zaal said division members would call people who had donated money. 

Oasis Wimmera also lodged a formal expression of interest to use the site.

But council corporate services director Graeme Harrison said the station could not provide for the migrant group’s plans, which included a kitchen and playgroup space.

He said the five-year agreement would not affect council’s long-term redevelopment plans. 

“The idea is for the long-term strategic development of Horsham City Oval and the cenotaph area,” he said. 

“We recognise that the building is ultimately to be demolished so we are not intending to invest significant dollars. 

“It is old, so it will just be about bringing it up to standard so that it can be used.”

Mr Harrison said council would help find the community groups alternative buildings when the redevelopment started. 

“Council has given an undertaking that we won’t just evict them when we come to the point where we decide to knock the station down,” he said.

“It looks to me to be a good workable situation for the short term.”

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