Coastguard set for cash boost

An artist's impression of the proposed Coastguard Queenstown operations base. Image supplied.
An artist's impression of the proposed Coastguard Queenstown operations base. Image supplied.
Coastguard Queenstown, which operates from a tiny storage shed at the back of a scout hall, could be about to secure a huge financial boost towards a new operations base.

The group has already raised two-thirds of the $575,000 building costs and is in line to receive $50,000 from the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

The council, at its meeting in Wanaka tomorrow, will be asked to approve the contribution towards the proposed base.

In December, Queenstown Times reported the charity had received $250,000 from the Central Lakes Trust, but was asking for help with the final push.

Although $388,985 has been raised from grants, a charity auction, in-kind contributions and a building fund, the Coastguard was just over $186,000 short.

A document prepared by council operations manager Ruth Stokes to be discussed tomorrow, said for the Coastguard to progress with the building plan at the current fixed price, all funding needed to be secured by the end of this month.

Coastguard ''is pro-actively contacting a number of entities and individuals in order to achieve this,'' and as part of this the group has asked the council to ''consider supporting the project in addition to the subsidised lease already in place''.

In 2012 the charity was granted consent from the council for a lease on a site next to the Scout building at Frankton Marina.

The discussion document recommended a $50,000 council contribution would be appropriate, considering the importance of the Coastguard's role.

Since it was established in 2007, Coastguard Queenstown had rescued 143 people, responded to 76 public-assistance calls and assisted in 50 search-and-rescues.

The headquarters would serve as a search and rescue base as well as hosting boating education programmes.

If approved, the funding would come from the Queenstown asset sale reserve account, which had a balance of $207,296.

''The funds may be allocated at the discretion of [the] council for capital proposals that are for the benefit of Queenstown,'' Ms Stokes' report says.

Laura Harry, who has many roles with Coastguard Queenstown, including secretary, treasurer and project manager, said the group was ''thrilled'' the council was considering a financial contribution.

• Anyone wanting to contribute to the Coastguard fund should email: admin@coastguardqueenstown.co.nz