TWO Horsham Rural City councillors have expressed frustration that another obstacle would prolong a push to resolve an insufficient water supply for firefighting near Horsham.
The Grampians Group of fire brigades – encompassing Laharum, Wonwondah, Brimpaen and Green Lake brigades – has pushed for the fire dam at Mockinya for a decade. The group believed the option would resolve an insufficient water supply for firefighting south of Horsham.
The proposed cost of a fire dam increased by almost $90,000 over the decade. The estimated cost of digging the fire dam in 2007 was $11,000. Horsham Council estimated last year that the project would cost up to $100,000 with a $40,000 feasibility study.
Horsham Council’s municipal fire management planning committee has since devised an alternative option that would see two water storage tanks of about kilolitres installed at Mockinya. The committee also agreed to investigate options for funding.
Councillor John Robinson moved a motion, at a meeting on Monday night, that council fund and install the proposed tanks at Mockinya. He proposed that $50,000 be set aside from the 2018-19 budget surplus to fund the project.
“The situation at Mockinya has been talked about for many years and the reality is that it’s reached a point where it’s a danger to lives and properties,” he said. “It’s at a frustrating stage because our expert body have come up with an option that they prefer over a dam.”
Crs Robinson, David Grimble and Josh Koenig voted for the motion while Crs Pam Clarke, Mark Radford, Les Power and Alethea Gulvin voted against.
Cr Radford moved to request a report and possible recommendation from council’s officers for a fire fighting water storage option at Mockinya. He supported the idea of moving the project forward, but said the outcome should be achieved through the correct process.
Cr Grimble it was important to bring closure to a “frustrating saga” that was hindered by bureaucracy. While he supported the motion, he said it was a long process to go through.
“It frustrates me that we have a local advisory committee charged with local captains, group captains and brigade representatives to make recommendations and they get rub stamped,” he said.
“It’s the role of council to make sure the applications get endorse. To have another report, another long-winded process – I’m happy to do that, but at the end of the day let’s get water storage for that strategic site.”
All councillors voted in favour of the motion to see a report from council’s officers.