Highlighting concerns of volunteer firefighters
THE Grampians Group, over the past 20 years, has been the most fire impacted in District 17 and, most likely, in the state of Victoria.
During that time, we have developed enormous capacity to respond to significant fires over extended periods safely and effectively, one to which I am proud.
The ongoing training to ensure safety is supported by myself, however, I also recognise the local knowledge and capacity of our volunteers given our fire history.
The chief will remove operational capacity and our ability to effectively use our volunteers in other operational roles. These extend to other areas of the fire fight, not necessarily only on the CFA tankers.
To put a hard line in place on the cusp of the fire season puts additional demands on volunteers to complete training to be operational. Our members have raised questions around compensation and the policing of the requirements as handed down by the chief officer. These questions have not been answered satisfactorily.
I can recognise the safe effective firefighting of my most active operational volunteers, regardless of any desktop training - including telling us the answers.
I, unlike the chief, won't tell volunteers what to do - but will support whatever steps I can take to be prepared and respond to wild fire effectively and safely.
It is also my job to highlight concerns of the volunteers that they see relevant as raised by them.
Robert Kelm, Grampians Group Officer
Sporting complex should proceed - but elsewhere
WE WRITE regarding the proposed sporting complex to be located near the Horsham Showgrounds and requiring the closure of McBryde Street.
Literally decades ago, in the 1980s, we wrote to both the Wimmera Mail-Times and Horsham Rural City Council regarding the volume of traffic in Bowen Street, where we live. We have also sought advice from the police as to what could be done about driver behaviour. Corners are consistently cut and at least one accident has occurred.
Since the increase in services provided by the Wimmera Health Care Group and the growth of the Lutheran school, traffic volume has increased - particularly before and after school. Of course, many cars going to Horsham Primary School and St Brigid's also use our street.
The closure of McBryde Street can only result in a further increase in the volume of traffic in our street as well as surrounding streets such as Smith and Hamilton streets.
Any past attempts to address the situation with Horsham council have fallen on deaf ears. Hence it is encouraging to read in the Mail-Times that the council is listening and we feel sure that the comments from long-standing residents will be treated with appropriate gravity.
We stress that we support the concept of a purpose-built sporting complex - however, in a location other than the McBryde Street area.
Mike and Rhonda Coffey, Horsham