New fire station plans announced

First it was the police, then it was Land Search and Rescue and now it is the turn of the Wanaka Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Plans for a new fire station were announced by New Zealand Fire Service National Commander Paul Baxter in Wanaka yesterday.

The station will be in Ballantyne Rd - slotting into the gap between the new police station, opened in October, and the new LandSAR Wanaka headquarters, which are due to be completed in July.

Mr Baxter declined to say how much the station would cost, but building consent had been obtained and tenders had been called for.

Mr Baxter said the station build was part of a $200 million upgrade of stations to meet earthquake standards ''so the building would be standing after a pretty major seismic event'' and it was also designed to cater for Wanaka's population growth.

''This is a really great project for the future.''

Chief Fire Officer Bruno Galloway said the brigade's 32 members were looking forward to moving out of the station in the increasingly busy Ardmore St area.

''Just coming out of the main street is a bit of an issue.

''We've got a few bars close by with people wandering around at night when we are trying to get out in a hurry.''

The new three-bay station would provide better access and parking for firefighters and more space for training, and Mr Galloway believed it would act as a ''hub'' for all 50 or so volunteer firefighters in the various brigades in the Upper Clutha.