Search and rescue base testament to community

A new search and rescue base in Twizel is already proving its worth, even before the paint has dried on the community-funded $100,000 building.

Work to build a combined storage unit and emergency incident management room in Twizel for Mackenzie LandSAR and the Mackenzie Lakes Coastguard began about a year ago, and Twizel LandSAR member Rob Davis said although the final exterior flashing would be put on the building this weekend, before an official opening at the start of April, the base had been fully operational since the end of December.

''It was used only days after we put the carpet down for its first job, up the Hopkins area at the top of Lake Ohau, so it has done three or four jobs now.

''It's a magic job that's been done, it's a huge effort for the community and testament to the locals. They have been brilliant.

''The Coastguard will obviously have their boat there, with the rescue kit, and the LandSAR crew on the other side of the building will have work space for uniforms and low-angle rescue gear, search equipment, and the management room is decked out with two laptops, one with mapping software.

''The Mackenzie District Council has recognised that it is probably the best place for a Civil Defence base and also a local company are also basing their internet provider company ou of it as well. So it will be the communications spot for all search, both land and water-based rescue.

''It's brilliant; it really has turned into a full community project.''

The building would be owned by the Mackenzie Search and Rescue Trust, which included the Mackenzie Lakes Coastguard, Mackenzie LandSAR and Twizel police.

Trust chairman Joe Rush said local fundraising efforts had obtained about $95,000 for the building, but the final cost was still not known.

''It's pretty hard because there has been so much stuff donated, labour donated, to say accurately what it cost to build.

''We are very grateful for major contributions from Meridian Energy, Transpower, Southern Victorian Trust and local contractors.''

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

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