SOS for St John in Gore

22:27, Feb 12 2014
Southland Times photo
Hokonui St John area executive officer Vicki Kelly, territory manager Jan Douglas and Gore station manager David Bone outside the Gore St John building that is to be demolished.

Life could not get much harder for the staff and volunteers of St John Gore, with their main building being set for demolition in the near future.

When the building will be demolished is a different story as funds are still to be raised for the demolition and construction of the new base.

Hokonui territory manager Jan Douglas said it was likely the building would be demolished in June, but that was not certain. 

The news comes after all St John buildings across the country were inspected as a result of what had happened to the organisation's buildings in Christchurch during the earthquake.

St John Gore received a building health score of about 10 per cent after the earthquake safety inspection, nowhere near the required 80 per cent.

After the reports revealed past year the building was not safe, another issue arose in the building's Key Performance Indicator, which involved ambulance staff having allocated time to be in the ambulance from when their pagers would go off.


The current set up had staff taking extra time to get to the ambulances because to the layout of the building.

The organisation now has to cover the costs to demolish and rebuild on the site as well as find a temporary location while the construction takes place.

Ms Douglas said the plan at this stage was to demolish the current building and rebuild on the same place of land with a different set up and only one storey high.

The new building would also see the ambulance crew resting base placed right beside the ambulance bay to decrease the time it takes staff to get to the ambulance.

Gore station manager David Bone said the building plans were being assessed by a quantity surveyor to total how much it will cost to construct.

''At this stage we still have to raise funds to cover the cost of demolishing the building as well,'' he said.

The building had hosted many training courses over its 41 years including multiple first aid courses and also having ambulance staff in the building 24/7.

St John were now appealing to the public to get in behind them with donations and they had thanked everyone for the generosity already shown.

The search was still on to find a compatible building in the township to temporarily host the ambulance crew but there was strict criteria to meet emergency services regulations.

''We have a few options up our sleeve,'' he said.

One of the benefits of the design of the new building is that it would be environmentally friendly.

''We are looking at solar power and using the best of the natural light,'' he said.

The ambulance bay would be the only part of the St John Gore base that would not be demolished.