New Queenstown Fire Station officially opened
Our newly refurbished Queenstown Fire Station was officially opened by Internal Affairs Minister Hon. Jan Tinetti on Saturday.
The extensive refurbishment almost entirely replaces the former station, with only the foundations, floor slab, column beams and one exterior wall carried through into the new building. The old station, opened in 1974, was well past its use-by date despite several modifications over the years.
The new station features three appliance bays, an operational area with decontamination facilities, modern IT equipment, meeting and training rooms, two kitchens and a training tower.
Minister Tinetti noted the importance of having a fully seismically strengthened building in Queenstown, so the brigade could support the community in times of greatest need. She also acknowledged the diversity amongst Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade’s 50 members, with 14 women and 32 non-New Zealanders in its ranks.
Fire and Emergency Board Chair Paul Swain thanked the volunteers for their ongoing commitment to keeping their community safe, particularly during the rebuild when the brigade operated from temporary accommodation behind the station. He also acknowledged the increasing range of incidents firefighters are called to these days, and stressed the importance of looking after first responders’ mental health.
Region Manager Mike Grant thanked the employers of the volunteer firefighters for their “massive contribution” in releasing staff to turn out for calls, particularly during the current economic times, and noted that the new building was a tangible investment in the Queenstown community.
Chief Fire Officer Terry O’Connell emphasised the enduring support of the community for the volunteer brigade since its establishment in 1863, when its equipment consisted of nothing more than buckets and a hand-powered pump.
The event was also attended by Deputy Chief Executive Russell Wood, Queenstown Lakes District Councillor Heath Copland, local Iwi, and Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade members, family and friends.
Ngāi Tahu Kaumatua Darren Rewi blessed the new building at a simple ceremony on Saturday morning.