$400,000 base for Coastguard and marina to open next year

A $400,000 new base for Queenstown Coastguard is expected to open in February.

After eight years of battling for funding, work has finally begun on the purpose-built facility at Frankton Marina, in Sugar Lane.

The marina itself, a construction project which has been 20 years in the pipeline, is also intended to be opened for use in 2019.

Queenstown Coastguard president Phil Wiel said the new building would boost the organisation's ability to offer education programmes.

''We'd like to see a lot of on-water education and use it as a community resource.''

The team of volunteers' current base is a storage shed at the marina. They were granted consent in 2012 to lease a vacant neighbouring site for the build.

The project had been downsized after years of struggling to hit fundraising targets.

About $400,000 was now expected to be spent, down from the $600,000-$700,000 originally planned.

''Initially we had some plans drawn up by a local firm, it was out of reach financially, we've come back to a more modest structure.

''We want a building that suits our needs, it doesn't have to be beautiful.''

He said they were still in talks with the council and other organisations to tee up more funding.

While the overall cost had come down, vice-president Andy McLeod said the cost of excavation had increased.

''We've had to dig down to lake level to replace the dodgy soil that's in there basically, so we don't slip into the lake over the next few years if there's an earthquake.

''It's gonna cost us a bit more than we originally thought, in our budget, but we are moving forward which is a massive thing.''

They were still keen for any donations - and, once they were in the new, larger building, any new volunteers.

That was likely to become more important, with increased growth in Queenstown meaning more boats on the water, he said.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

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