Colac fire championships impress officials

ORGANISERS of the state’s rural firefighting championships say the event’s success was a credit to Colac.

Competitors from more than 44 fire brigades descended on Colac’s Showgrounds at the weekend for the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria championships.

Victoria’s Governor Alex Chernov, third from right, and his wife Elizabeth visited Colac to open the state firefighting championships. They are pictured with, from left, Colac Otway Shire mayor Stephen Hart, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley, CFA chairman Kerry Murphy and Corangamite Shire mayor Matt Makin.

Organising committee chairman Mike Evans said the two-day competition went “exceptionally well”.

“It was great to see so many people down there watching the competition or looking around at everything else that was on offer,” Mr Evans said.

“I was speaking with Andrew Ford, the CEO of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria, as well as the chief officer Euan Ferguson and they were saying that this was certainly as good, if not better, than any other championships they’d seen,” he said.

“And that was because we were able to have market stalls and public safety information and demonstrations with the SES and the CFA as well as the competition.”

Mr Evans said he was pleased to see enthusiasm among the championship’s junior competitors.

“You could see the progression in every age group and how the competition had helped improve their leadership skills as well as their involvement with their local fire brigades,” he said.

Competitors and their families filled Colac’s motels and caravan parks, and accommodation at Winchelsea and Camperdown.

Colac Otway Shire Council acting chief Jack Green said the championship opened the district to new visitors.

“We’ve attracted people from a broad range of areas to come here which is fantastic,” Mr Green said.

“And we’ve got a chance to show Colac Otway Shire off to people which will have a multiplier effect,” he said.

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