Ambulances ready to roll

by Kent Caddick

After three years in the making Rolleston’s new ambulance station is ready to open.

The St John Selwyn Central Area Committee will mark the official opening of the $650,000 project with an open day on Sunday, October 1.

The new station provides a three-bay garage for vehicles and a building for staff, which also comprises a training area and community meeting room, on the corner of Kidman Street and Norman Kirk Drive. Committee chair John Sunckell said he’s pretty excited to be able to open the new facility. “As Selwyn has grown, in particular from West Melton, through Rolleston and across to Lincoln we have had to find a way to better service the emergency medical needs of our community,” Mr Sunckell said.

“One only has to look at the traffic in and out of Selwyn morning and night and the increasing difficulty traversing the district to recognise this population growth. The Rolleston station not only services the needs of West Melton, Rolleston, Springston and Lincoln, but also provides paramedic support to St John volunteer stations in Leeston and Darfield and on out into the wider hinterland of Selwyn.

“The new station is not just a base for our ambulances and staff but also provides meeting and training rooms.

“Our St John youth programme is very strong in Rolleston with approximately 50 penguins and cadets regularly attending, learning community and life skills, and as they get older first aid and leadership.” 

Initially the station will house a front line ambulance, a first response unit and a transfer vehicle but can also take a second frontline unit if needed in the future.

Mr Sunckell said the opening ceremony is their chance to thank and recognise the Selwyn community for their ongoing support of the project.

St John Selwyn Central Area Committee chair John Sunckell shows Diane 
Chesmar, the then chair of the now defunct Selwyn Central Community 
Board, their plans for the ambulance centre after the board 
donated $5,000 to the project

“Of special significance are the contributions of the Selwyn District Council, Generation Homes for their ‘no charge’ project management, Rata Foundation for its early financial support and Pub Charity for providing the cornerstones for the project. “This early support allowed the community to come in behind us and to make at times significant donations. Significance is relative, whether it be two dollars of pocket money from a child or a five figure sum from a business or an individual, we value them all equally.

“The job is not yet done, with loans of $165,000 to repay and ongoing operational levies and costs approaching $200,000 per annum we need the continued support of our community,” Mr Sunckell said.

The whole community is invited to the opening, at 1.30pm on Sunday, October 1. The station will be open to the public right throughout the afternoon for people to drop in and view the new facility.