Te Kauwhata ambulance station opens soon
Service hopes improved conditions will attract more volunteersMARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Service hopes improved conditions will attract more volunteers, Maryanne Twentyman reports.
After more than 15 years planning, the residents of Te Kauwhata are just weeks away from having a new ambulance station in the town.
St John Te Kauwhata operations team manager Paul McKenzie said his team couldn't wait to move into the new station that's cost about $800,000 to build - including land.
"It's certainly been a long time in the planning, and a lot of hard work, but we are just a few weeks away from moving in now and it's going to be brilliant for the entire community," he said.
The station will include space for three ambulance vehicles, offices, training area, storage and sluice rooms and, more importantly, living and accommodation quarters for staff.
"I'm hoping the vast improvement will attract more volunteers for the station," Mr McKenzie said.
"The extra facilities certainly make life a lot easier for crews working each shift."
The Te Kauwhata St John team responds to between 80 and 100 callouts each month and covers a vast area of the North Waikato region.
As the only permanent officer on staff Mr McKenzie relies on a small team of 12 volunteers but he hopes to recruit more team members in the new year.
He thanked his team for their hard work raising funds for the station which has seen some staff catering for community events such as weddings and funerals to raise money.
"But we are still needing to raise around $200,000 to cover the entire project, and while we haven't relied too heavily on the community as yet we are going to need that support to get us over the line."
He said the project has accrued unexpected council-related costs including money spent on a new sewer line and additional parking.
"We've pretty much had to start from scratch from furnishings to beds, bedding, furniture and kitchen items, but it will be a station the entire team can be very proud of," he said.
When asked whether the town's latest Lotto millionaire, Trev Palmer, had donated to the station fund Mr McKenzie said he was aware of one $10,000 donation from a former Te Kauwhata Lotto winner - however that was not Mr Palmer.
While operational staff are hoping to move into the new station by the end of November, Mr McKenzie said an official opening was planned for February next year.
Donations to the Te Kauwhata St John ambulance station project can be made at any branch of the ASB, account number 12-3454-0019885-51
- © Fairfax NZ News
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