ECHUCA’S SES unit will be officially opened on Saturday.
Three years after members started operating from the High St building.
Work on the 25m by 20m purpose-built building, located in the emergency services precinct, started in February 2013, with stage one taking 12 months to complete.
Unit controller Ian Marriott said the first stage of the building project suffered major cost overruns by the project management, with only basic toilet facilities, a communications room and change room completed.
‘‘It was otherwise incomplete and awaiting the construction of internal offices, kitchen and administration areas,’’ he said.
‘‘At this time, there was also no internal cladding nor insulation (and no climate control) in the training room.’’
Final fitout was completed in March 2016, with minor finishing touches taking until the end of the year, at significant extra expense to the unit.
The total project cost was about $500,000.
‘‘Through the support of government grants and extensive fundraising, our members were able to move into this first-class facility,’’ Mr Marriott said.
‘‘Externally the area around the building is currently graded gravel and the intent is to seal this with either asphalt or concrete to provide all weather access.’’
Before moving into the new building, the unit operated from a shire building in Kerferd St, which Mr Marriott said was far too small to accommodate its activities.
‘‘It was basically a tin shed on a dirt road with no showers and toilets in the building,’’ he said.
‘‘Vehicle storage was very limited so the new facility is in a different league.’’
The new SES headquarters is about a third to a half bigger than the former site and includes offices, a training room, communications/operations room, changeroom, shower and toilets, store room and kitchen.
It also has two drive through bays and room for support trailers, including a boat and incident scene lighting trailer.
‘‘The training/meeting room is air-conditioned and will be upgraded to the latest electronic training aids as funding permits,’’ Mr Marriott said.
‘‘It has the ability to handle large-scale emergency events from the facility and can be expanded as needed.
‘‘Without the tremendous support and donations by the local community, this project would not have happened.’’
Mr Marriott said the unit had 12 members, but welcomed new members who wanted to be trained to respond to emergency situations, as well as assist other agencies at major incidents as the need arose.
Saturday’s opening ceremony has been restricted to invited guests only, but an open day is being planned so members of the public can come along and look through the facility.