St John Hub emergency base too

Cromwell's St John ambulance station in Barry Ave. Plans for a new $3.4million ambulance hub on...
Cromwell's St John ambulance station in Barry Ave. Plans for a new $3.4million ambulance hub on the Barry Ave site can now progress, following the announcement of a $1.65million grant from the Central Lakes Trust. PHOTO: PAM JONES
A $3.4 million new ambulance hub in Cromwell will also double as a base in a civil emergency, those behind the venture say.

A $1.65 million Central Lakes Trust grant for the project has just been announced, meaning construction could now be scheduled to begin later this year, St John South Island fundraising and marketing manager Debbie Pipson said.

The 574sq m hub will be built on the existing St John Cromwell site, in Barry Ave.

The new "state of the art'' facility would be based on St John's successful "hub and spoke'' model put in place after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and would support the other St John ambulance stations in Central Otago, Ms Pipson said.

It would allow better management and flexibility of the 19 ambulance and operational vehicles based in seven stations across Central Otago, Central Lakes Trust chairwoman Linda Robertson said.

But another $1.3 million is still needed for the project.

"Our local area committee has been working with local businesses and organisations to raise funds for the new build, but at an estimated build cost of $3.4 million, we still need the support of the local community to help us raise the shortfall of about $1.3 million,'' Ms Pipson said.

"St John is not fully funded by the Government and so we rely on community support to fundraise for new buildings.''

Ms Pipson said the demand for ambulance services continued to increase in the Central Lakes district because of rapid population growth and rising tourist numbers.

The decision to base the hub in Cromwell was influenced by an analysis of callouts across the region, and a geotech report on ground stability in the case of a significant earthquake, trust chief executive Susan Finlay said.

"There is a high probability of a major earthquake in our lifetimes. St John's hub and spoke plan, with the addition of the new facility, will be an excellent resource for the region's needs.

Strategically located in a central location and built on stable ground, the hub can be readily converted to a post-event response location, with space to run operations and act as a community gathering space.''

The facility would be built to the highest category for a building's seismic resilience, which meant the building would be able to withstand an Alpine Fault rupture and continue to operate as a post-event response location, Ms Pipson said.

She did not have any other information about when construction was expected to begin, but said it would be later this year.


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