Coastguard base start in limbo until more funds raised

An architect's sketch of the $575,000 operations base that Coastguard Queenstown wants to build at Frankton Marina. Graphic from Coastguard NZ.
An architect's sketch of the $575,000 operations base that Coastguard Queenstown wants to build at Frankton Marina. Graphic from Coastguard NZ.
A two-year fundraising effort by Coastguard Queenstown towards building a new operations base has passed the three-quarter mark, but time is running out for the project.

Fundraising committee chairwoman Laura Harry said a donation by the estate of former Lake Hayes resident and ''keen boatie'' Peter Wilding had brought the total raised to $440,000 out of the project's $575,000 cost.

However, the remaining funds had to be found soon as grants already promised had ''expiry dates'', Ms Harry said.

The project was fully designed and had consent, but construction could not begin until the full amount had been raised.

''We'll have to complete the funding by the end of the year.''

Coastguard Queenstown's 26 volunteer crew members have been operating out of back rooms, store rooms and space at St John and the Frankton Fire Station since the unit was set up in 2007.

At present, it operates from a small storage shed at the back of a scouts building at Frankton Marina, and in 2012 was granted consent by the council for a lease on a vacant neighbouring site.

The new building will house rescue equipment and serve as a training centre and operations base during search and rescue missions.

The unit's president, Carl Portegys, said it needed well-trained and equipped volunteers to cope with the increasing number of people boating on the lake.

Ms Harry said the biggest contributors to the project so far had been the Central Lakes Trust with $250,000, and the Community Trust of Southland with $42,000.

A decision on whether to take up a Queenstown Lakes District Council offer of a $50,000 interest-free loan would be made later this month.