PROTESTERS yesterday vowed to fight-on despite the sod being turned on Wodonga’s new ambulance station that promises to provide better service for the region.
Six people living near the Mcgaffins and Felltimber Creek roads site held a placard as Victorian Health Minister David Davis turned the sod as the member for Benambra, Bill Tilley, ambulance officers, police and the public looked on.
The protesters said the project risked safety because it was positioned between two bus stops and on a busy road used by children and the elderly.
“We don’t oppose a new station,” mother Eryn Phillips said.
“But we have every right to defend our lifestyles and our family.”
The group slammed the state government for overriding the Wodonga Council and a development covenant on the land.
Mr Davis said he and Mr Tilley’s task was to ensure “nothing impeded” a second station being built.
“This is about delivering the best clinical outcomes in terms of services for people in Wodonga and the region,” Mr Tilley said.
“Sometimes a government must make decisions.”
Tenders will be called for the project and the station is expected to be built by April, housing an ambulance and two paramedics 24-hours a day in addition to the South Street 24-hour site.
Mr Tilley promised a second station before the 2010 election.
Ambulance service regional manager Garry Cook said the station was “a long time coming”.
“This is a great day for Ambulance Victoria, for paramedics and for community,” Mr Cook said.
“We know where our patients come from, this is putting a station near many of those patients.”
He dismissed concerns that fast-moving ambulances would endanger the neighbourhood.
“Our paramedics drive ambulances all day, all night, in all road conditions. They’re trained to do that,” he said.
He said changes had been made to the layout after public feedback.
Ms Phillips said her group would collect letters to send to the federal government.