A NEW multimillion-dollar office is expected to be ready to house seasonal firefighters at Eskdale by the end of the year.
Border company Joss Construction recently started work on the Department of Environment and Primary Industries office and depot.
When completed — the aim is by December — the office will house eight permanent staff, plus another seven seasonal project firefighters in summer and autumn.
These staff will move from existing offices at Mitta, with the firefighters able to base themselves at the new site for much of the 2014-15 fire season.
Benambra MP Bill Tilley, who visited the construction site yesterday, said the $4.3 million project would give the area a major economic boost.
“The new office and depot will help to meet the future service needs of communities in the Mitta Valley and will play a critical role in emergency management,” he said.
“With a local company undertaking the works, this project will support construction jobs in the region and provide a boost to our local economy.”
Mr Tilley said the Eskdale site was chosen because it was close to public facilities at the town’s sporting grounds and because of its central location.
That, he said, would help the department respond more quickly to fires and other emergencies.
The office and depot project is being built next to the Mitta United Football Netball Club, on the Omeo Highway.
“The sporting complex offers flexibility for major bushfire events with a full commercial kitchen and football oval that could be used for a base camp or helipad if required,” Mr Tilley said.
“The facility will be built in natural colours, recognising the beloved bush huts of the high country and its surrounds.
“It will also incorporate ecologically sustainable development practices such as energy efficient appliances and lighting, water harvesting tanks, shading and high performance glazing.”