Caledon gets new fire station to better serve Theewaterskloof municipality
STATEMENT ON OFFICIAL OPENING OF CALEDON FIRE STATION
The unveiling of the new R5 million Fire Station in Caledon, a major milestone that will improve fighters’ ability to serve communities of Theewaterskloof and the Overberg region.
A dream, five years in the making, finally became a reality this morning following the launch of a new fire station in Caledon.
Western Cape Local Government MEC Minister Anton Bredell, together with the Executive Mayor of Overberg District Municipality Alderman Andries Franken ,the Executive Mayor of Theewaterskloof Municipality Alderman Karel Papier and other government officials, who were in attendance, officially opened the new station.
Speaking at the opening, Minister Bredell, reminded all in attendance that local government is about basic services and infrastructure. Infrastructure such as this new fire station, which will benefit all the residents of Caledon on several levels.
“Residents will be safer, as this station will allow for faster and more comprehensive response to fire emergencies. The location, with quick access to the N2, together with the fact that you will be operational 24 hours a day, will add to your increased responsiveness. The new station will enhance Caledon’s appeal to potential investors in your local economy,” he said.
“Through infrastructure developments such as this, you are showing that Caledon is a well-run municipality and a safe place to invest in. This new station also plays an important role in the entire Western Cape fire response strategy. From our Provincial Disaster Management perspective, we know that you are also able to help in neighbouring municipalities if the need arises.”
Minister Bredell further added that the timing of the launch of this new facility couldn’t be better considering that it is opening at the beginning of our traditional fire season in the Western Cape.
“Each year millions of Rands are spent by various agencies to prevent loss of life and property and to reduce the impact on the environment.”
The previous fire facility in the area was not fulfilling the needs of the Caledon fighting unit and vehicles could not be secured. It also didn’t have provide a 24-hour shift response from the station.
Explaining on how the new facility will benefit Theewaterskloof and the greater Overberg area, Overberg Fire Chief Reinhard Geldenhuys said the 24-hour shift will dramatically shorten the fire response times, especially to informal areas like Riemvasmaak where structures are vulnerable to fire.
“There was a need for a new fire station in Caledon and several attempts were made to build a station, but funding remained a problem. We were approached by Mr Helmut Pool, the developer of Afgri next door to the new f
Fire Station to enter into a Public-Private Partnership, where they can build the station and we rent the station,” he said.
“After many negotiations, the plans were completed, and the agreement went through council. The station was purposefully built as a fire station with the requirements needed to have a full time 24/7 manning of the station. This is also the area where a Joint Operations Centre can be established in the case of a disaster or major incident in the Caledon area.”
The ground floor of the facility caters to staff needs with sleeping quarters, kitchen and bathrooms and is the day-to-day operational part of the station. The top half caters for the administrative part where office and training facilities are found.
The Executive Mayor of Theewaterskloof Municipality, Alderman Karel Papier, expresses his gratitude to all government departments and role players involved in making this Fire Station a reality and believes it will make a big difference in reducing response times.
“As the mayor of Theewaterskkloof I’m very excited about this new fire station they have built in Caledon. This will be a great help for Theewaterskloof residents. I know Overberg District is just a call away when we have problems, but now there will be a much quicker response time and that is important going into fire season. The station is ideally situated close to the N2 giving fast access to all our towns and feeder routes. As well as covering the Major route for accidents and incidents.”
“This will be a game-charger for Theewaterskloof Municipality and the greater Overberg region. I want to thank the Executive Mayor of Overberg District Municipality Andries Franken and all other government departments and role players who have made this possible.”
Those present were also entertained by a squad drill performance of the fire fighters held before the official unveiling of the plaque and cutting of the ribbon.
Issued by Theewaterskloof Communications Department