By Meg Kennedy
A bigger and better ambulance hub that will allow Bacchus March paramedics the space they need to respond to emergencies has officially begun construction.
Minister for Ambulance Services Jenny Mikakos joined Member for Melton Steve McGhie last Thursday, 14 February to turn the first sod of the new $3 million Bacchus Marsh ambulance branch, on the corner of Gisborne Road and Leila Court.
The current branch, located on Main St, was built in the 1960s and is too narrow for redevelopment.
A new hub for Bacchus Marsh was announced in July 2016 as part of the 2016/17 Victorian Budget.
The new site – a former residential block – will feature a five-bay garage, four rest and recline rooms, training facilities, a fully equipped kitchen and improved security and staff car parking.
It will be home to more than 40 paramedics providing 24-hour coverage, with plans for the ambulance service to grow in the future.
“We know how important it is for our vulnerable members of the community who are waiting for someone in that moment of need to come to that rescue, effectively to their aid,” Minister Mikakos told paramedics at the site.
The State Government reported that an average time for an ambulance to reach the scene of a Code One emergency in Moorabool has improved from 14.24 minutes to 12.14 minutes over the last year.
“[For construction] we’re using local firms as much as possible, and re-investing in local jobs and opportunities; and giving people that opportunity to put back into their local communities.”
Ambulance Victoria Paramedic Senior Team Manager John Crossman told the Moorabool News the new facility will account not only for Bacchus Marsh’s booming population but for the surrounding area.
“This development is based not just for the township, but it’s based at the whole area, particularly the Eastern half of the Moorabool LGA,” said Mr Crossman.
“It’s not just a population boom in Bacchus that we have to consider, it’s the expansion of Myrniong, and it’s the ongoing expansions in Melton, and the expansions in Maddingley, and the expansions in Balliang.”
Ambulance Victoria Group Manager Huw Colechin said the hub’s location which is “nice and close to the main freeway,” will allow paramedics from this branch who are “not only able to support Bacchus Marsh, but quickly get up to places like Ballan, back into Werribee and out through to Gisborne.”
Construction for the hub is set to be completed by September 2019.