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Firefighters settle in

KATASHA M CCULLOUGH
Last updated 05:00 08/04/2014
Takapuna Firefighters
Katasha McCullough

FIRST WATCH: Firefighters Mark Christian, John Mahuru, Matt Rutherford and senior station officer John Sweeney on the first shift in the new Takapuna fire station.

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It's the end of an era for Takapuna firefighters.

They vacated the historic 1950s station on Killarney St and moved into a new $4 million building on Wairau Rd on April 2.

Waitemata Fire Area assistant manager John Booth says the Killarney St station was in the wrong place and the new location gives them much better coverage.

The East Coast Bays fire station is also due to move further north, he says.

The Wairau Rd station took more than a year to construct and is also home to the Waitemata Fire Area Management office.

The new building is equipped with a training tower for firefighters to abseil off, an area to practise cutting open cars after accidents and a water pit to simulate draining swamps and creeks.

No decisions have been made about the future of the Killarney St site. The station's neighbours are keen for neighbouring Killarney Park to be extended.

Ian Gunthorp spoke at a Devonport-Takapuna Local Board meeting on behalf of 10 neighbours at the end of last year.

Auckland Council needs to recognise the potential community use of the property, particularly to extend the lakeside reserves, Gunthorp says.

New Zealand Fire Service national property manager Dominic Hare said in November that staff were keen to work with the council because of strong community interest in the site's future.

Booth says the fire service has been trying to move out of the old station for eight years.

The service was caught up in a long legal dispute involving a Pak'n'Save application for resource consent for a different site on Wairau Rd.

Auckland Transport says the busy intersection of Wairau Rd and Archers Rd has been upgraded to allow fire engines safe access to the station.

Wairau Rd is used by more than 1600 cars during peak hours.

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- North Shore Times

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