Ambulance hub work to begin

The building of a new $3.4million ambulance hub in Cromwell is expected to start this month after a more than year-long fundraising effort.

The 574sq m hub will be built on the existing St John Cromwell site in Barry Ave. The first sod was turned last week.

Representatives from St John, local iwi, the Central Otago District Council, the Central Lakes Trust, the Otago Community Trust and building firm Breen Construction took part in a ceremony which included a Ngai Tahu blessing of the site.

St John South Island region general manager Craig Stockdale said it was a milestone in the development of the ambulance base for the growing Cromwell community and Central Otago.

"It is really exciting to be at this point ... we want to thank the local community for its support."

It would provide Cromwell with an ambulance base and act as a hub for the region.

Its construction is the result of a huge fundraising effort. The Central Lakes Trust provided $1.65million and the Otago Community Trust $475,000; the rest came from the community.

Central Lakes Trust chief executive Susan Finlay said despite partial government funding, St John still had to fundraise to keep its service operating.

"It’s a show of true community spirit that so many people and organisations have supported this initiative to become a reality."

The station would be designed to IL4 (importance level 4) specifications, to withstand significant seismic events and become a centralised response and emergency operations centre in a major event, if required.

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