The Country Fire Authority (CFA) will get a new district headquarters in Ararat by next year.
CFA District 16 operations manager Bernie Fradd said the CFA was seeking registrations of interest from landlords and developers to lease an office building in Ararat. The registrations of interest close on Thursday, May 4.
They hope to move from their current Barkly Street address into the new building by August 2018, before the 2018-19 fire season.
“It [the relocation] has been spoken about for 10 years or more, and now we have funding committed, we’re hoping within a month to have a shortlist of preferred applicants,” Mr Fradd said.
“It will have to be a fairly fast process for us to be in by August 2018.”
He said the existing office was outdated and not fit for purpose.
“We have people working in difficult circumstances at times, so this new development will bring our headquarters into the modern era.”
He said the a new office building would allow staff to better serve the community and brigades of District 16, whose major townships included Ararat, Avoca, Halls Gap, Nerrin Nerrin, Stawell and Stoneleigh.
Staff numbers in the office tended to almost double, from the regular 12-15, in summer, he said.
Mr Fradd also expects some people, who are now working at Ballarat and Horsham offices, to work from Ararat, once the office is moved. The relocation will also generate jobs during the build or redevelopment.
The new site could also be used as incident control centre, which Mr Fradd said would allow emergency agencies, local council and other bodies to more easily work together to respond to emergencies including fires, flood and major accidents.
Other government departments will also be able to use the building’s meeting rooms and other facilities.
“This new development means the CFA is a really significant resource in Ararat and will continue to be for the next 20 years.”
The CFA wants 1000 to 1100 square metres of office space, which could be in an existing building or a new purpose-building. It also requires at least 30 to 40 car spaces.