School site to become city's third fire station
OWNERSHIP of Charlton State School has been transferred to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services with plans to man the site within two months.
The facility will initially operate as a communications centre, but moves are under way to convert it into the city's third fire station.
United Firefighters Union Toowoomba branch president Tony Guse said government funding was needed sooner rather than later.
"It will be a combined centre with the SES, the regional headquarters for the fire service and our third fire station," he said.
"We've got the land, so that's a start. But there's still no budgetary funding to have the thing actually built.
"That's the first stage. From a union perspective, we want the government to commit to building the facilities out there."
The QFRS south-western region head office at 128 Margaret St is on the chopping block.
"The lease expires shortly, and with the government policy on minimising rental and lease agreements, they will be able to utilise the facility (in Charlton)," Mr Guse said.
Firefighters have long called for a third station in the Toowoomba, and Mr Guse said the location to the city's west was perfect.
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"That's exactly where we wanted it. We're going to have a large risk operating out there from about October with the new airport starting up," he said.
A QFES spokesman said it was still unclear how the former school would be used.
"QFES are in the early stages of developing a blueprint for the long-term use of the site as an emergency services complex," a government spokesman said.
"In the short-term, existing infrastructure will be used as the regional QFES headquarters, with eight to 10 staff expected to operate from the site from early October."
WHAT ELSE IS MAKING NEWS:
Charlton State School was shut down by the State Government last year after a Queensland-wide review of school viability.
The closure came despite the Queensland Schools Planning Commission finding up to three new primary schools and an additional high school would be required in Toowoomba over the next 20 years.
Charlton was the first of six closed schools to change ownership.
Toowoomba South State School is still subject to the due diligence process which involves assessing the site and obtaining valuations before going to market.
"Useable school resources and equipment have been removed and redistributed to other departmental schools/facilities," the spokesman said.
"This is standard practice for school sites following closure."