Batemans Bay SES to build a new headquarters with firefighters after an old house was destroyed by bushfires

The headquarters of the NSW SES Batemans Bay unit was destroyed in the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires. Photo: Mike Day.

Two and a half years after the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires swept across the South Coast, construction of the new Batemans Bay State Emergency Services headquarters is set to begin.

The unit’s old headquarters just south of town has been flattened by the bushfires, but plans are underway to build an improved facility.

Valuable volunteers won’t be alone in the new space, which they’ll share with Surf Beach Rural Firefighters.

“We are very excited to see construction come to fruition and even more excited that construction is complete and we have a permanent home, said NSW SES Eurobodalla Local Commander Mike Day.

He thought the idea of ​​sharing the space with the fire department and being near the ambulance station was “brilliant”.

“It opens the door to joint training and it has benefits for everyone,” he said. He added that it would build inter-agency relationships, add skills and create bonds between members.

Mr Day said early in the morning of December 31, 2019 that the SES had learned that there was a particularly serious fire risk, so the volunteers evacuated critical equipment from their old headquarters to a safer location. from the city.

Volunteers gathered at the facility to discuss the situation later that day, but the fire then spread to the outskirts of the premises.

When extinguished, the radiant heat caused a fire inside the premises and the head office was destroyed.

Mr Day said the mood at the time was “a bit dark”, but the volunteers were happy to be able to help the community during the disaster with the equipment they evacuated early on New Year’s Eve.

He said that during the bushfires, SES volunteers cleared roads of fallen trees, helped run evacuation centers and helped with RFS logistical work “in support of these wonderful volunteers”.

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The new $3.9 million facility will be built on Eurobodalla Shire Council land, adjacent to the Surf Beach Ambulance Station. Construction will begin in July, beginning with clearing and earthworks.

Members of the Batemans Bay SES have been operating from a temporary facility since the bushfires. Mr Day said the new facility would mean a lot to the 44 volunteers, who continued their essential work to protect the community.

“Our volunteers played a crucial role during multiple floods and storms,” he said.

“This new facility will provide a modern and tailored facility for our training and emergency response.”

Artist's impression of the building

Construction will soon begin on a combined SES and RFS seat for Batemans Bay, located next to the ambulance service at Surf Beach. Photo: ESC.

The location will provide easy access to the main George Bass Drive and the facility has been designed to provide secure storage of vehicles and equipment, as well as spaces for emergency response training and programs. community awareness. It will also have the latest communication capabilities.

The project was funded by the SES and the NSW Rural Fire Service, with contributions from the Eurobodalla Council.

Council infrastructure director and local emergency management officer Warren Sharpe OAM said councils were required to provide land for emergency services.

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“Collocating emergency services where possible makes sense in terms of sharing facilities and ensuring quick and coordinated responses,” he said.

“This land at Surf Beach next to NSW Ambulance headquarters has always been the right place for a combined facility and the council are very pleased to be able to make it available.”

The council said planning was continuing for the planned regional emergency management compound for Moruya, with a public works council engaged in identifying suitable land for an emergency operations center and services. collocated emergencies.

Mr. Day thanked the RFS and the Far South Coast Council for their cooperation. He also thanked the firefighters for “everything they did” on New Year’s Eve 2019.