Blue tarp the only thing keeping Ballina SES shed dry
IT'S usually members of the public who need the help of State Emergency Services volunteers to tarp-up their leaky roofs in severe weather.
But for the last few months, the volunteers of the Ballina SES unit have had to use their tarping skills to patch up the leaks in their own roof.
The volunteer rescue organisation has been flagging the need for a new building for at least four years.
In 2012, it was to make enough space for both equipment and training.
But now the concerns have shifted to keeping vital rescue equipment damage free, after water leaks in the roof threatened to rust equipment.
Richmond Tweed SES region controller Andrew McPhee said the age of the building had been an ongoing issue and one that the organisation was working with council to resolve.
"Some of the issues with the building have been around for a little while," he said.
"But the tarps are simply there to protect some of our equipment from water.
"The teams have used the same kind of techniques they use in the community to waterproof the facility."
Ballina Shire Council civil services group manager John Truman said council completed maintenance and repairs to the roof this week.
"In regards to replacing the building, this is a matter we are keen to proceed and will continue to work with the NSW Government in respect of funding and options," he said.
As to whether the new Ballina SES building would remain on the same site or be re-located to different site, Mr Truman said a decision was yet to be made.
"The suitability of continuing on that site and the availability of other potential sites will be assessed with SES as part of the discussions," he said.
The NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott saw the Ballina SES building last week on his way to the opening of the new Ballina fire station.
When asked about his thoughts on the state of the building, Mr Elliott's team referred the response to the NSW SES.
"NSW SES continues to work with the Ballina Shire Council to improve the condition of the Ballina Unit building and Council has begun to implement temporary repairs to the premises to ensure we can continue operations at this location until a long term solution can be agreed to," a NSW SES spokesperson said.
"Discussions with Council have been underway to initiate the construction of a new facility.
"NSW SES has nominal grant funding available to assist the Council in the construction of a new Ballina Unit headquarters and we look forward to reaching an agreement with Council to progress this.
"Volunteers from the Ballina Unit continue to maintain their operations from the current premises and are able to serve their community in times of floods, storms and other emergencies."