BANORA Point's newly refurbished fire station at Corporation Dr, Tweed Heads South, was officially opened today giving firefighters an up-to-date facility capable of servicing the area for many years to come.
Most of the station's 15 retained firefighters were on hand to witness the ceremony which doubled as an award presentation for firefighter Tony Gillespie who received a Special Service Citation for his work during last year's Queensland floods.
Mr Gillespie (pictured below) went to Brisbane's Rocklea Markets and stayed for a week to help with the clean-up of produce, mud and the general destruction caused by the devastating floods.
"I'm stoked to get the citation and never expected it," Mr Gillespie said.
Tweed MP and NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services Geoff Provest, Tweed mayor Barry Longland and Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins were present to open the station and address the around 50 people gathered to celebrate the opening.
Cr Longland acknowledged the work done by the firies and thanked them on behalf of council and residents for their work.
"Residents rely on the security provided by the firefighters and can look forward to better response times as well as wider coverage," Cr Longland said.
Mr Provest said the wider community owed the firefighters a debt of gratitude for the service they provided and the lives they saved.
Mr Provest also thanked the families and friends of the firefighters for supporting them and allowing them to risk their own health and wellbeing to help others.
"The high level of dedication and professionalism can't ever be repaid," Mr Provest said.
Commissioner Mullins officially opened the station and said the work of service was all about families.
He said it was about saving families, individuals and property and couldn't be achieved without team work.
Commissioner Mullins said after the $637,000 refurbishment, the station now offered more space and better equipment and would allow the firefighters to add to their fantastic record.
He said since the official establishment of the Banora Point Fire Station in 2009, staff had operated from temporary facilities.
Commissioner Mullins said the completion of the new permanent station gave the community greater ownership and sent the message that the station was here to stay.
Station Commander Darryl Pearce thanked his firefighters for their patience during the construction work.
"The station needed to stay operational during construction and believe me, that wasn't easy," Commander Pearce said.
The facility provides the firies with a new training room, air-conditioning, a room to dry clothing and equipment and a lot more space.
"Every time I come through the front door, I can't believe what I see," Commander Pearce said.