The Hills Shire Council has moved to support a new Hills State Emergency Service’s (SES) headquarters.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Councillor Yvonne Keane has been a strong advocate for improving the Unit’s current headquarters in Building 20 at Balcombe Heights Estate as it does not meet current and future operational needs.
“Council has been a strong supporter of the Unit since it was first established nearly 50 years ago with the Unit reported to be currently one of the largest and best equipped in the state,” Mayor Keane said.
“But a recent strategic review of the Hills SES Unit’s operations, undertaken by regional and local controllers, identified that the existing headquarters is already inadequate for the current 140 volunteers and does not meet the needs of the Shire’s increasing population.
“The limitations of the existing SES headquarters were demonstrated during a storm emergency in February when many aspects of the operation had to be managed by the SES Sydney Western Division at their facility in Seven Hills and at the RFS Control Centre at Kenthurst.
“We are clearly reaching a time where we need to start planning for our population and growth including our SES.
“I commend Council for setting aside $300,000 for the April budget review so that we can commence the design and planning approval for the establishment of the new purpose built SES headquarters.
“This has been an issue of enormous importance to me during my term of Mayoralty and I have been working solidly on it behind the scenes. I am overjoyed that Council has unanimously supported this recommendation.
“I now look forward to working with the unit, in particular SES Local Controller Evelyn Lester, in locating the most suitable location for the new headquarters.
“Our community should be immensely proud to have a highly capable and dedicated SES unit in The Hills. It is one of the finest in NSW. I look forward to delivering a headquarters that not only matches the Hills SES capability, but one which will allow them to grow with excellence for many years to come,” Mayor Keane added.
Mayor Keane said the Hills SES should be applauded for the all the work they do to keep residents safe, especially during the last two months when unseasonable weather battered the region.
“The Hills SES has been fully operational day-in and day-out since 18 February with a total of 1867 requests for assistance,” Mayor Keane said.
“Jobs ranged from fallen trees, dealing with minor flooding, closed roadways and roof and property repairs from rain inundation and hail damage.
“It is never an easy task working in extreme weather situations, and at times where it can require climbing onto broken roofs or buildings in wet and slippery conditions, but our SES have performed an extraordinary job in trying circumstances.
“On behalf of The Hills Shire, I want to thank our wonderful and dedicate SES volunteers on the amazing work they do – every hour they give of their own time to our region contributes to making a real and very valuable difference to people’s lives,” Mayor Keane added.
Council will now approach State and Federal Members of Parliament seeking financial assistance towards the capital cost of the new headquarters.