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Proposal for northern fire and emergency base

Nov 14th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

 A FULLTIME integrated fire and emergency base in Wellington’s northern suburbs is up for discussion.

Ohariu MP Peter Dunne has included the matter in a 10-point plan he has drafted for the next three years.

Pushing enhanced medical facilities and emergency services is a high priority, he says.

Peter Dunne’s ministerial adviser Hayden Cox says the Newlands Fire Station needs to be replaced, and this provides an opportunity to develop an integrated base on a different site.

He says even though there are fire, police and ambulance services in the area, there is a need for these services to be better integrated.

It is a top priority because surrounding suburbs are growing, with new areas such as Woodridge and Hunters Hill development above Grenada Village, he says.

Discussions have been underway between councillors, the New Zealand Fire Service, the United Fire Brigades’ Association and other emergency services about this plan and its feasibility.

United Fire Brigades’ Association chief executive officer George Verry says it makes sense to integrate emergency bases as the roles of volunteer fire fighters are increasingly becoming a fusion between fire, rescue and medical services.

He says in small towns where there may be only one policeman and no ambulance service, fire fighters are usually the first at the scene and this is why their role is changing.

Northern Ward councillor Ngaire Best (pictured right) says there have been preliminary discussions between her and council officers about building such a base on a local reserve.

She says she is not in a position to judge where a new base should be built, but the Newlands Fire Station in its current state does not meet the needs of their volunteer crews.

Newlands fire chief Tony Swain says discussions have been debated for a couple of years but nothing is set in stone.

Northern Ward councillor Justin Lester says although he hasn’t been involved in discussions, it would make sense to group northern suburb emergency resources together.

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is a Whitireia journalism student. Holds Bachelor of Communications, major in Journalism Studies, composite minor in Media Studies and Expressive Arts.
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