Mackenzie search centre open for business

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 14/04/2014
graham white
SUPPLIED/ Kevin Moore

RESCUE LAUNCH: Graham White, of the Mackenzie Lakes Coast Guar, christens the new coastguard boat at the official opening of the new Mackenzie search and rescue building in Twizel.

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After taking 1000 volunteer hours to complete it, Mackenzie rescuers and coastguard officially opened their new facility on Saturday in Twizel.

The combined venture between police, coastguard and LandSAR is unique in that they are now based in the same premises.

Chairman of the Mackenzie Search and Rescue trust and policeman Constable Joe Rush said $100,000 was raised for the facility and was supported by Meridian's Waitaki Community Fund, Transpower and other sponsors.

Building by volunteers started on the steel portal framed facility in June 2012 and it was in use at the end of last year.

The volunteers were from LandSar and Mackenzie Lakes' members.

"It has been an amazing project with help from contractors and businesses which have provided materials and expertise," Constable Rush said.

The community also got behind it. "It was pretty humbling, we didn't need to ask for help, people offered," Constable Rush said.

The official opening was delayed until the final touches were finished on the 1000sqm building.

As well as providing storage for the new coastguard boat and housing search and rescue equipment the complex also has an incident management room with a GPS for boats and helicopters.

The incident room is also used for training and by other community groups. Co-ordinating search and rescues was originally done on the same site from a small shed "like an old cell" behind the Twizel police station.

"We have radio comms to cover the Mackenzie basin," Constable Rush said.

So far the incident management room has been used for two successful search and rescue operations.

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- The Timaru Herald

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