“It’s going to be an absolutely huge plus for our community. It will also be used as a community meeting room as Marlo doesn’t have a town hall,” said Captain Darryl Patterson.
By joining forces, Marlo brigade and Volunteer Coast Guard have secured an impressive shared facility, reduced building costs and strengthened their partnership.
“With the current building you have to drive the slip-on vehicle out so you can get your turnout gear on. Have to get into the tanker from the passenger door. The Coast Guard station was much the same,” Darryl said.
Both agencies will be getting their own storerooms, workshops, offices and four-bay motor room.
“There’s not much room to hang out in the current shed. You have to walk around the truck sideways to get through. If there’s another truck they have to back one vehicle in and park the other one out in front of the station,” said Geoff Neale, secretary of Marlo brigade.
“The extra space will be great for training – we work closely with the Coast Guard as well as the Orbost Group so the meeting room will be getting a fair bit of use, as will the electronic whiteboards. We’ll be able to hold regional training lectures here, which will save a few trips to Paynesville and Lakes Entrance.”
The facility also includes common areas such as a modern kitchen and large meeting room, which will be made available to the Marlo community.
“It’s the first time we’ve had this shared community space in Marlo. While community groups currently have to go down to the local hotel or the back of a restaurant, they’ll soon be able to hold their meetings here.”
The new facility will finally allow the Marlo Coast Guard to have a meeting space of its own.
“We currently meet in the fire shed every second Sunday unless there’s a clash, in which case we wander down to the tackle shop or angling club. It will be great to meet in the one place and it will be a beautiful venue when it comes to meetings and presentations,” said Commander Harry Ferrier.
“As well as the boat we’ve got a jet ski and rubber ducky to store and it’s a bit squashed; the boat has hit the side of the shed a number of times. We’ll be able to bring the boat in from around the back and drive it right through.
“We’re looking at getting a larger boat in the next few years and the new facility will give us space to leave it all hooked together instead of having to unhook it and leave the boat beside the car.”
Both agencies are keen to attract some younger members, and feel that creating a modern facility that’s open for the community to use is a step in the right direction.
“I think it will help us work closer together, not that we didn’t beforehand. I’m hoping between the two organisations we’ll be able to recruit some young blood. When they see the new facilities they’ll see we’re going forward and proactive,” Harry said.
The station is proposed for completion at the end of October.