The Honourable Ken Smith MP, Member for Bass, along with Bass Coast Shire Mayor Cr. Veronica Dowman and several CFA representatives including Southern Metropolitan Regional Director Peter Schmidt, joined over 50 guests and fellow firefighters from San Remo and neighbouring brigades to celebrate the handover of San Remo’s new light pumper and field command vehicle (FCV).
Formed in 1947, San Remo brigade is responsible for the communities of San Remo, Newhaven, Cape Woolamai and Surf Beach on Phillip Island. San Remo brigade is the gateway to Phillip Island and it protects around a quarter of Phillip Island’s area.
The brigade is connected to each of these communities through one road - the Phillip Island Tourist Road.
While in winter this close knit community has a population of around 4,000 people, from Melbourne Cup until Easter the area is flooded with seachangers and holidaymakers. Over 2 million visitors annually travel through the brigade’s area on the way to the attractions of Phillip Island such as the Penguins, Koalas or motor sport activities to name a few.
The light pumper replaced the 25 year old pumper that had served San Remo for many years. The pumper, which was replaced as part of CFA’s vehicle replacement program, is a great boost for firefighting resources in both San Remo and the Bass Coast area.
The FCV was obtained through the support of the State Government's Volunteer Emergency Support Equipment Program (VESEP) and replaces an 11-year-old support vehicle.
While the official handover of two new vehicles was enough to draw a large crowd, Ken Smith also announced funding had been allocated to build a new satellite station in the Cape Woolamai area as part of last week’s state budget.
The new satellite station will assist with busy traffic conditions in the area, particularly during the peak tourist season.
Ken Smith congratulated the brigade on its great record of service and said that these additions would further strengthen the work conducted by the San Remo brigade in protecting our community.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr. Veronica Dowman paid special tribute to the efforts of CFA volunteers in Bass Coast and the wonderful work that brigades did – not just in normal brigade activities, but in the fantastic relationship that CFA has with the Bass Coast Shire as a whole. Cr. Dowman also commended the San Remo brigade on its fine work.
Regional Director Peter Schmidt commented on the fantastic efforts that the San Remo brigade, along with the others in Bass Coast, had made in protecting the huge holiday population that annually visits the area. He also paid tribute to the brigade’s efforts in community engagement, which was evident on the night with the presence of several community groups that have supported the brigade.
Group Officer Damien O’Connor congratulated the San Remo brigade on it efforts and detailed to everyone the impact that these vehicles will have on not just San Remo, but neighbouring brigades and on strike team deployments.
The assembled crowd was given a tour of the vehicles before being treated to a wonderful supper provided by the brigade.
This certainly will be a night that San Remo brigade will talk about for years.
Daylight photos by Scott Hamilton; night shots courtesy of Shelley Applebee.