SHARE

It is the tale of the ambulance station the community built.

Generosity and a “make it happen” attitude were the markers of the celebration at the opening of the new St John ambulance station in Cromwell last week.

The new station, costing $3.2million-$3.5million, was the result of three years’ dreaming, hard work and fundraising by St John and the community.

More than 100 people, including St John staff and volunteers, funders and key stakeholders as well as community members packed into the building for the opening and official handing over of the station to St John.

Members of the organisation’s leadership wore traditional regalia roots blessed by a chaplain.

Commissioned . . . The newly opened St John ambulance station in Cromwell is designed to withstand a “significant” earthquake and still function as an ambulance station. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

The 574sqm hub was classified as Impact Level 4 (IL4) meaning it was designed to withstand a significant seismic event and still be able to function as a hub for ambulance services.

It now housed the area’s two ambulances, as well as 24 full-time, casual and volunteer staff.

St John Ambulance territory manager Central Otago David Baillie said it felt “absolutely amazing” to have the new ambulance station opened.

“Our staff are really happy, I’m really happy, the community is, you know, ecstatic for what this means for us and a great, I guess refresh, restart, for us.”

Three years ago St John began discussions on the future of ambulance services in Cromwell and what was needed to support the greater area, in particular the risk of “significant” earthquakes and how it would impact its infrastructure and ability to run an ambulance service.

St John Ambulance territory manager Central Otago David Baillie. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

“This build being IL4 can handle a significant earthquake and we can still use the building and function out of it as an ambulance service, and a point we can work from in a massive emergency like an earthquake,” Mr Baillie said.

Cromwell was also one of the fastest-growing areas in New Zealand and St John recognised the need to be able to house more staff and vehicles in the future, Mr Baillie said.

“For Cromwell we needed to build a building that future-proofed us for 50 years. That’s what we’ve done.”