New station costs rise, but build under way

Tapanui St John station manager Anne Marie Tamblyn is looking forward to working out of the new St John building.PHOTO:JENNY DILLNER

The new ambulance centre being built in Tapanui has faced cost rises and building delays, but is now under construction.

West Otago St John area community chairman Russell Kerr said the cost of the new depot had unfortunately been going up and up, and Covid-19 had also played a big part in delaying the project.

All emergency buildings now had to comply with the Impact Level 4 code (IL4)- Earthquake  resilience -and this also added cost to the cost of the building.

Mr Kerr said they had massive support from both inside and outside the community.

“It really is overwhelming the support we have had from all over.”

The building contractor Ajax Construction is hoping to have the project finished by the end of the year.

” Everything is looking good, but our biggest problem may be getting some building supplies.

“Sadly, Covid-19 is not helping the situation, but hopefully there will be no delays.”

The old St John building will be going up for sale soon.

It was built in 1972.

“Hopefully the money from the sale will give us enough to finish the project.

“Once the main building has been finished, there is still a lot of landscaping and fencing to do.”

Mr Kerr said all the volunteers and committee from West Otago were very excited about the new building.

“It will be a busy couple of months ahead,” Mr Kerr said.

Having seen the concrete pad laid at the new St John ambulance depot in Tapanui, station manager Anne-Marie Tamblyn is looking forward to moving into the new premises.

Mrs Tamblyn has volunteered and worked out of the old building for 24 years.

“There will be many positives when we relocate to the new building.

“To have a warm station to use for our training, and especially to house the ambulance on site, that will be wonderful.”

When the new ambulance arrived it was too tall for the garage, and has been housed at Southfuels garage.

“We are extremely fortunate to have the use of the garage but it has meant we have had to clean and stock the ambulance outside.

“The new premises will make it so much easier, especially at night.”

The new site will also have a bedroom and shower.

“This will make it so much more comfortable for night shift volunteers.”

Mrs Tamblyn said they had eight volunteers and hoped to encourage more to join.

“It is a satisfying role and being part of a team.

“The volunteers and support we get is wonderful,” she said.