City of Rockingham councillors have voted to demolish the heritage-listed former Rockingham Fire Station. The station, located on Hefron Street, Rockingham, was constructed in the 1970s and remained operational until 1994. The City of Rockingham owned and operated the building as a youth centre for several years before it was heritage listed in 2018. The building was also approved for use as a food bank before being sold to current owner, Rockham Pty Ltd. In July 2022, the owner donated the space to the Mixed Palette art group after the group struggled to find a space for its workshops. Just months later, in November, the building suffered extensive fire damage and was deemed uninhabitable, requiring demolition on instruction of the city’s building services team. The former fire station, a brick dwelling and an outbuilding will now be demolished. The application went out for public consultation in January with four submissions received from local residents. Residents raised concerns including a potential increase in homelessness presence, a loss of heritage and risk of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. Rockham Pty Ltd provided a Heritage Impact Statement to support its reasoning behind the demolition and also expressed its interest in developing a “state-of-the-art” disability services facility. Cr Lorna Buchan said conditions would be in place to ensure the fire station was represented in any new building on the land. Concerns were also raised about the potential risk of PFAS contamination. PFAS is a group of synthetic chemicals which can be used for products that resist heat, stains, grease and water. The chemicals do not fully break down in the environment, can potentially contaminate drinking water sources and can build up in wildlife and fish. Cr Buchan said she was satisfied the potentially contaminated site would comply with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulations if any issues arise. “The fire station will be represented in the new build, on merit I was persuade to approve the demolition,” she said. Cr Mark Jones said it was a difficult decision to support the demolition of a heritage listed building, however, he was convinced it would become a positive development in the future. “The owner has been very generous in terms of donating the space to community groups such as Mixed Palette and is looking at doing other good things for the community,” he said. Cr Robert Schmidt said he wouldn’t be supporting the application due to the “risk and dangers of PFAS”. “Many people, firefighters and volunteers and communities around the country have faced serious health issues from PFAS and my concern is that we are going to create an issue here,” Cr Schmidt said. The application was passed almost unanimously with councillors voting 11-1 in favour of demolition.