Finishing touches for new station

by Kent Caddick

West Melton firefighters will be in good shape for next summer with the final touches being put on their new fire station.

Last week the old station was demolished opening up the way for the new station to become operational.

The West Melton brigade is now part of the new Fire and Emergency New Zealand organisation, which was formed when the National Rural Fire Authority under which it operated merged with the New Zealand Fire Service last year.

Deputy fire force controller, Chris Caldwell, said prior to the merger they were funded and managed by the Selwyn District Council.

“It was decided a few years ago we needed a new station as we had acquired a second truck and a ute and had nowhere to put them.

“The existing station was built around 1965 and had developed a lot of problems, leaking, birds getting in and barely big enough for the main truck.

“The council agreed to fund a new station, and just over two years ago we started progressing plans for the new one.”

However, before the build started the FENZ merger occurred.

“Selwyn council agreed to give the money they were going to spend on it to FENZ to keep the project going,” Mr Caldwell said.

“We may not have been on the priority list under the new FENZ to have our station upgraded — there are plenty of others in the same or worse state around the country. We really do give credit to the SDC particularly Douglas Marshall for this as without them it wouldn’t have happened.”

He said the new station’s basic design was largely from input from all the crew after they visited several other new stations and got ideas.

“Some of it is standard NZFS spec, some of it we have modified and tweaked and dare I say it improved on other designs.

“We will have a huge engine bay, capable of storing not just our three vehicles but at least one other should FENZ decide to expand West Melton’s capabilities.

“The training room is large and together with a decent kitchen and office and equipment store. It could be multi-use, such as a civil defence base in a non-fire disaster, or simply as an Incident Control Point if a major incident occurred in West Melton.”

Now the old station has been demolished work has begun on the front of the new station to improve access to the replacement building and provide a large working area.

The old building was 100m2, and the new building is 380m2. Construction of the new building started in January this year and once the finishing touches are made will be fully operational in June.