“This will ensure that the local community is well protected,” said a spokeswoman for the fire department.
Firefighters insist the new “strategically located” station is needed in Lara to ensure the best possible response times for residents and infrastructure such as the nearby Barwon prison.
But Lara Care Group chairman Barry White said the station is expected to be built in the west of the growing city, where much of the development is currently taking place.
“This [is] in the wrong place for the future of the community, ”he said.
The proposed fire station would be in addition to a newly renovated Country Fire Authority station, located less than five minutes away.
Fire Rescue Victoria has also clashed with Geelong City Council, which insists the station will diminish the remaining rural features it is trying to preserve in Lara.
Earlier this year, council rejected an application for a planning permission for the resort. But Fire Rescue Victoria appealed the decision, the case to the Victoria Civil Administrative Court.
Geelong Council Planning and Economics Director Gareth Smith said a council planning committee rejected the request, fearing the station would disturb wildlife, attract significant numbers of visitors. people on the site and does not improve the rural landscape of Lara.
“The committee found that the proposal would have a negative impact on the Serendip Sanctuary Conservation Area, which is located in front of the property,” he said.
However, Fire Rescue Victoria maintains it commissioned a wildlife impact assessment which found the station would have minimal impact on the environment, but recommended measures to minimize the effect of light and noise on them. animals.
Deakin University professor of ecology and wildlife conservation Euan Ritchie said any habitat for wildlife must be protected.
“All the remaining habitat areas, and especially those close to cities, are very valuable,” he said.
He said some birds could flee the sanctuary if disturbed by the noise, lights and activity at the fire station.
“The question is whether this is going to have a lasting effect on wildlife populations,” Professor Ritchie said. “Animals that don’t have the option to leave can just wander away from the area around the fire station, or they can just get used to it.”
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