Ambulance plans ‘premature’

Jim Hopkins
Jim Hopkins
Seeking the public’s views on St John’s plans to build an ambulance station at Awamoa Park in Oamaru is ‘‘premature’’ given the organisation has not formally requested to lease land there, Cr Jim Hopkins says.

His comments came at a meeting of the Waitaki District Council yesterday where councillors considered the public consultation process, after it was revealed the park, thought to be a Crown-owned reserve, is actually owned by the council and not the Crown.

Under both the Reserves Act 1977 and the Local Government Act 2002, council has the same obligation to consult with the public and also has the same decision-making ability under each consultation process.

Its consultation process will fall under the legislation of the latter Act.

While St John has identified the park as its preferred site for its new base, council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen confirmed it was yet to formally lodge a request with the council to lease a parcel of land at the south Oamaru park that borders State Highway 1.

‘‘What we don’t have is absolutely written in black and white that this is the site. We just need that ... before we commit full resources to it.

‘‘It’s a bit chicken and egg, but they do need this (public consultation) information from us.’’

However, that did not please Cr Hopkins.

‘‘It’s premature to say we will be engaging in consultation,’’ he said.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said he would prefer St John clarified its plans ‘‘before we go much further’’. Cr Melanie Tavendale was comfortable with consultation going ahead as recommended.

‘‘This needs a full community discussion. I think this is a step in the right direction.’’

Crs Tavendale, Hana Halalele, Bill Kingan and Kelli Milmine voted in favour of the recommendation to go out for public consultation.

Crs McRobie, Hopkins, Guy Percival and Colin Wollstein voted against it.

Mayor Gary Kircher’s vote in favour carried the motion.

In June, the Otago Daily Times reported St John documents showed it wanted public consultation and the granting of a resource consent to occur in 2019.

It wanted to complete the project by the second quarter of 2021.

That timeframe was not met.

A decision on whether to lease land to St John will be made after the public consultation period.

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