Firefighters hope more hydrants on the horizon for town

Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Bevan Koppert says it can be difficult for...
Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Bevan Koppert says it can be difficult for firefighters to access water in the township.PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Any improvement to water supply infrastructure in Weston to help firefighters do their jobs is "way overdue", the North Otago township’s fire chief says.

Weston’s water supply infrastructure was last upgraded in late 2010 and early 2011, as part of a $1.2million Waitaki District Council investment to improve drinking water quality.

Since then, Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Bevan Koppert said little had been done to address what he considered to be a serious issue — a lack of fire hydrants.

There were about 30 fire hydrants at Weston, but few in Percy and Gordon Sts, and West View Dr.

Mr Koppert, a Weston resident and firefighting veteran of more than 40 years, hoped a proposed water supply upgrade would include a provision for easier access to fire hydrants.

"Weston has just grown so much bigger from the day I shifted in ... there’s just never been any improvement. We are doing a good job, but we are not superhuman," he said.

"Any improvement would be a real bonus. Not only for us, but also the people that live here because it’s their places that are at risk. It’s way overdue in my opinion, to be honest."

Council water services and waste manager Martin Pacey said Weston’s water supply was a low volume, restricted supply and was "not in a gazetted fire area", which meant "firefighting from the fire hydrants is neither designed nor provided for".

"There are some fire hydrant points available that the fire service can utilise to draw water from if or when there is water in the pipes at the time. The fire service fully understand this and will attend with a tanker should a fire call occur."

If the proposal, to be included for consideration in the council’s next 10-year long term plan, went ahead, it would allow for "full firefighting within the town".

Funding for the project has been applied for through the Government’s provincial growth fund.


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