RFS and forestry plan new Tumut HQ

The RFS and Forests NSW have started investigating sharing a joint facility in Sydney Street.

The Rural Fire Service and Forestry Corporation NSW have started planning for a new building to house their staff on vacant land on the south-western edge of Tumut.

The RFS and Forestry staff are currently located in the Snowy Valleys Council-owned building on Capper Street.

The RFS takes up a portion of the first floor, and Forests NSW uses a section of the second floor.

The RFS lease is due to expire in 2020.

An RFS spokesperson said the building is “not capable of large-scale multi-agency incident management”.

The joint venture between the NSW government departments would create a new fire control centre for the RFS, and a regional office for the forestry, in Sydney Street, on forestry-owned land, somewhere near the bush common.

The forestry has its former research centre in that area.

“The new facility would house staff from both agencies, with the ability to manage increased staffing levels for major incidents,” the RFS spokesperson said.

“A feasibility study into an identified site in Sydney Street is currently underway.”

However, the location of the building has been questioned by Snowy Valleys Council deputy mayor John Larter.

The local paramedic, who is on the local emergency management committee, said the new building should be located in Tumut’s railway precinct, along Adelong Road, near the Old Butter Factory.

That location already houses the SES, the RFS Tumut brigade, and National Parks and Wildlife Service, and is the logical place to house a fire control centre, Mr Larter said.

“Everything is already down there,” Cr Larter said.

“You can walk from one emergency services building to another –  if there’s a major fire around, chances are it’s in a National Park and they’re going to be involved.”

Cr Larter said there were a number of options in that area to site a new building.

He couldn’t understand why they’d chosen a site in Sydney Street.

“It’s isolated, you’ll have emergency personnel rushing there past the high school … I don’t think you could pick a worse spot,” Cr Larter said.