Concerned Queenstown residents are calling for the return of
an estimated $1 million life and property-saving ''ladder
truck'' for the resort's volunteer fire brigade.
A letter will be drafted after a community meeting in council
chambers last night asking New Zealand Fire Service chiefs
why the brigade's aerial appliance was sent to Invercargill
seven years ago and not replaced.
The letter will ask what the service's criteria is for
allocating an aerial appliance to a brigade.
It will also ask about the cost implications of acquiring and
maintaining the appliance.
Fae Robertson and Pam Gardiner, of Wakatipu Victim Support,
spearheaded the informal discussion to gauge support from the
community and 11 people attended, mostly from the
The fire in May which destroyed the popular World Bar on the
first floor of a Shotover St building and the Fat Badger's
Pizza restaurant beneath highlighted the absence of a ladder
It is believed the appliance could have made a difference in
controlling the blaze.
Ground-based water cannons were deployed and an aerial
appliance was summoned from Invercargill, a
two-and-a-half-hour drive away.
The increasingly multi-storey urban character of Queenstown
was identified by participants. They said the community had a
''duty of care'' for the 1.89 million visitors to the resort
The death of British tourist Emily Jordan in a Queenstown
rafting accident in 2009 made international headlines,
damaged the resort and country's reputation, demanded action
from Prime Minister John Key and prompted major changes in
the adventure tourism industry, Penny Clark, Queenstown
hotels regional chairwoman of the Tourism Industry
Association and general manager of Goldridge Resort, said.
The thought of the World Bar fire happening at 3am instead of
4.30pm and the potential loss of life was ''horrendous'', Mrs
Robertson said. Top 10 Holiday Park Creeksyde co-owner Erna
Spijkerbosch said the support of Queenstown Lakes Mayor
Vanessa van Uden, the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce and
Destination Queenstown was needed.
The issue was raised whether firefighters should now become
paid and rostered full-time in the brigade's 150th
However, the Queenstown station is already staffed around the
clock and the brigade's response time would not have been
different in the World Bar scenario, the group heard.