Community fundraising for helipad

Landing zone . . . Observing the site for a new helipad next to the Lumsden Vol unteer Fire Brigade Station is brigade mem ber Owen Patterson (left) with Lumsden Lions president Stuart Clear water, who is organising a 4WD trek as a fundraiser for the project. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

The Lumsden community are banding together to get a helipad built to service the area in emergencies.

It is planned to be built next to the Lumsden Volunteer Fire Brigade Station in Hero St.

Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Graeme Gale said it was “a very big deal”.

“It gives us a location where we can meet ambulances or other helicopters.

“We can head out of there … on a planned, surveyed, designed route back to Dunedin Hospital or whichever hospital we need to go to.”

Lumsden was a central point for the area, but at the moment helicopters were having to land on the grass, he said.

“You’ve got the potential risk of tipping a patient off a stretcher.”

Brigade member Owen Patterson said they were being called out in the middle of the night to guide helicopters using torches and car lights as they landed.

“With the pad, it’ll all be lit up.”

The helipad would have a number of applications in a variety of emergencies, he said.

“We’ve got a lot of emergency stuff here. All the rural fire fighting gear is here now, so the chopper could drop in, pick it all up and take it where it’s needed.”

In the case of a natural disaster, helicopters would have a place to land and drop off supplies.

The helipad would cost about $30,000 to build and people were already chipping in however they could, Mr Patterson said.

“The community’s getting behind it.

“The whole fire service, ambulance and police are behind it.

“Ninety percent of it’s going to be done by volunteers.”

Local contractors would be doing the earthworks, concrete work and supplying materials, he said.

“We’ve got electricians in the brigade and builders in the brigade doing bits and pieces.”

Work could begin once the resource consent was granted, Mr Patterson said.

In the meantime, people were also helping with donations and fundraisers, including the brigade’s fundraiser selling fire wood.

“If they want to help, just get in touch with any fire brigade member and they can help split wood .. we’ve got loads of fire wood to cut.”

The Lumsden Lions have also organised a 4WD trek this Saturday as a fundraiser.

President Stuart Clearwater said it was an opportunity to see views from areas that were otherwise inaccessible, all while supporting a good cause.

“If you got up there you could see Bluff on a good day and Stewart Island sticking right out.”

The trek would go to North Range, Stag Valley and White Hill Wind Farm.

There would be the opportunity to learn how the wind farm worked from a Meridian Energy staff member, Mr Clearwater said.

The trek would then finish with a barbecue.

Admission is $50 for adults and $25 for those under 15. It is free for children under 5.

Those interested in coming to the event or in making a donation for the helipad can contact the Lumsden Lions.