TWIN City Archers may have been equipped to reduce fire damage to its now devastated field course but for an oversight in the development of its indoor centre.
Clubhouse namesake Merv Grinstead, who built the shed with assistance from the work for the dole program, said Latrobe City Council requested he install a fire hose two inches in diameter, despite the precinct being serviced by a one-inch water pipe.
“The fire hose remains there untouched, unused, and will remain so, because you can’t connect it to a one-inch pipe,” Mr Grinstead said. As the pipe was owned by Gippsland Water, Mr Grinstead said the club had discussions with council in 2009 about adding a 20,000-litre water tank and petrol pump to service the indoor centre “for just such an emergency and we’re still waiting”.
“If I’d have had that I could have stopped the fire before it got to the (Us and Them) bike club, and that could have stopped it getting into the bush,” Mr Grinstead said. Latrobe City Council general manager, recreation and community infrastructure Grantley Switzer said discussions had taken place, but council never committed to fund the upgrades.
“The improvement of water supply was an action that was identified in the Morwell Outdoor Recreation Plan however no firm commitment to undertake these works or funding in council’s budget identified,” Mr Switzer said.
“With outdoor recreation plans, council can fund some projects, but it is also the responsibility of tenant clubs to look at ways in which these projects can be implemented.”
Mr Switzer said council officers would engage with TCA this week to “plan appropriately in the event that a similar event happens in the future”.