It's taken a while, but the new homes of Lawson and Blaxland's Rural Fire Service brigades have officially opened.
Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott, joined NSW RFS Assistant Commissioner Jason Heffernan and Mayor Mark Greenhill to official open the $1.1 million Lawson volunteer Rural Fire Brigade and the $1.3 million Blaxland Rural Fire Brigade on Sunday.
Lawson's new station was finished almost 18 months ago and Blaxland's has been in use for a year. The stations official openings, which included visits by the state and federal members, were always planned to happen on the same day, but catastrophic bushfires and COVID led to the delays.
Mr Elliott said the new stations are fit for purpose and will provide space for additional tankers.
"Lawson has space for three vehicles and the Blaxland station has space for four tankers and I am sure it is greatly welcomed by the more than 200 current volunteers and the local communities," Mr Elliott added.
Blue Mountains district manager Inspector Nick Medianik only started in the role a week ago, and was delighted by the opening of "two significant pieces of infrastructure".
He began as an RFS volunteer in 1996 in Blaxland, has also worked for NSW Fire and Rescue and worked in rural and regional NSW with the RFS.
"Lawson's been operational for over 18 months, for the brigade it's good to have the official handover ... it wasn't appropriate to open them during the catastrophic bushfires ... it was a tremendous day for emergency services and community across the Mountains," he said.
NSW RFS Assistant Commissioner, Jason Heffernan said there was a new three bay building at Lawson including an additional annex for group officers, a multi-function room for the brigade and a separate multi-function room for group officers, as well as a storeroom and amenities."
Inspector Medianik said Lawson and Blaxland stations were now both configured to act as a "forward command post and for use by other agencies as required... like a smaller scale emergency service precinct... it's built like a Mechano set, you can ...configure to the needs of the land and the brigade."
The openings were done to a COVID-safe plan.
The emergency response for the upcoming storm and fire season in the Mountains was further boosted with the official handover of a $360,000 urban tanker to the Winmalee Rural Fire Brigade.- and two trucks to the State Emergency Service.
"The new truck is part of an additional $45 million in funding that will provide 120 new trucks and 70 refurbished trucks to the RFS," Mr Elliot said.
The two new SES vehicles, a Isuzu D-Max and MUX, are used to provide support roles to the unit in assisting logistical movement of equipment and supplies during emergencies and replace two aging Toyota Hiluxs.