By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.com.au
RURAL fire brigades in the northern part of the Calliope Shire met at the weekend to discuss the possibility of merging.
Port Curtis Rural Fire Brigade group officer Bruce Mackay said members from the Mt Larcom, Targinnie, Westowe, Butlerville, Cedarvale, Machine Creek and Ambrose brigades turned up to discuss the merits of amalgamation.
"What started off as an exercise to rationalise equipment needs has turned into the possibility of merging some of the brigades to get the most efficient use of resources,'' Mr Mackay said.
"There has been some mis-information being spread about but ultimately what we are trying to do is make the brigades stronger.'' Mr Mackay said the meeting was held to get some idea from the brigades that the direction they were moving in was the right direction.
"The reaction was mixed,''he said.
"However, the depopulation of some of the areas has meant we have to seriously look at merging some of the brigades to ensure their survival.
"We will be holding another meeting to finalise these decisions next year on February 11 at 1pm at the Mt Larcom Hall.
Mr Mackay said all the brigades in the shire will be meeting on Thursday this week to discuss the allocation of funds made available by the Calliope Shire Council.
"Calliope Shire Council is the first council to handle the distribution of what used to be known as fire levy monies this way."