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Picked project progressing

(L-R) Pick My Project representatives John Kouvelas and Dani Jones with Russ Hendry (BM Lions) and Denis Purcell (BM SES) at the Darley site. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Meg Kennedy

A shed is not often considered the most exciting of buildings, but one currently under construction may have life-saving outcomes.
Representatives from community groups and local and state governments visited the Bacchus Marsh Lions Club headquarters in Darley where construction for a new SES training facility and shed is taking place.
The joint project between BM Lions Club and BM SES was one of 237 projects voted by communities across Victoria last October, through the ‘Pick My Project’ State Government initiative.
Lions Club President Russ Hendry and members, SES volunteer Bill Robson and members, Pick My Project representatives Dani Jones and John Kouvelas, Moorabool Shire CEO Derek Madden and Mayor Paul Tatchell congregated at the Wittick Street facilities in Darley on Wednesday, 31 July to inspect the progress of the successful ‘Pick My Project’ application.
The joint project between Bacchus Marsh Lions Club and Bacchus Marsh SES was one of 237 projects voted by communities across Victoria last October, through the State Government initiative.
Projects are voted online by the general public, with winning applications receiving government funding to make the projects a reality.
The SES and Lions Club received $190,000 for the construction of the new building, aimed to help service the growing population of Bacchus Marsh and Darley.
The SES facilities are currently located just off the busy roundabout exit at Gisborne Road (adjacent to APCO petrol station).
A description on the Pick My Project website said the current site “creates many problems as vehicles are brought in from wreckers and cut up with the Jaws of Life for training purposes in a very restricted and heavy traffic area.”
“In addition, when emergencies occur, members have limited car parking and access, and emergency vehicles are impacted by the heavy traffic when exiting the site.”
Mr Hendry said the works are “running well”, with the project expected to beat its deadline for the end of October by a month.
“The [SES] are pretty wrapped about [the shed]. It will help the community with their training here…so they’ve got plenty of room to do it here,” he said.
“We have numerous projects that we look at, and when there’s an opportunity for them to come up – and the opportunity came here for Pick My Project – we jumped on it.”
Mr Hendry admits it was “challenging” to create a social media campaign – a platform with a different target group to those involved with the Lions Club, but the project still received an overwhelming number of votes.
“The project is an example of what service clubs can achieve,” he said.
It wasn’t entirely smooth sailing for the project, with a building permit from Moorabool Shire Council only approved in June of this year.
Moorabool Shire CEO Derek Madden said there “were a lot of hurdles to get through” in lifting the project off the ground but insisted Council “recognises the importance” of the project.
“We had a meeting with [Lions Club members] Russ and Ralph [Fletcher] early on to try and make it as easy as possible, but there were some complications – mainly to do with the site – but we worked our way through it and hence it’s now done,” he said.
Member for Melton Steve McGhie said that “emergency services are the heart of rural communities and we’re proud to be supporting projects, led by the community, to give the SES the modern facilities they deserve.”
Completion for the new SES training facility is set for October 2019.