Plans are progressing for a new fire station at the Mangawhai Park emergency services hub.
It will join the St John Ambulance Station on Molesworth Drive, which opened in November 2015, after relocating from a portacom at the fire station on Wood Street.
The brigade has used the temporary building after the top floor of the current fire station, owned by Kaipara District Council, was condemned.
NZ Fire Service property manager Mel Tipton says they have completed due diligence and a feasibility study, and are negotiating the lease and finalising the design concept and cost. “The current building is not fit for purpose and it will be replaced as soon as possible,” he says.
The timeline is dependent on the national property strategy and priority list, including the Christchurch rebuild.
Whangarei area commander Brad Mosby says the new station is an opportunity for the Mangawhai brigade to look to the future. It will be purpose built and provide a room for training and socialising, including community and family events. He says Mangawhai is growing and it is important to attract new volunteers.
Officer-in-charge Robert Leslie has been in the role since last November, after being second-in-charge to Morris Doughty since November 2015. They were appointed after a tumultuous time at the station. Robert transferred from his post as deputy chief of Kaiwaka brigade and has been a volunteer firefighter for 29 years.
He says the new station’s central location will help with recruits. It will be easier to get to and respond to callouts.
The Mangawhai team has grown from 15 to 19 fire officers in the past year. Robert has focused on team building and training, with 10 officers currently training. He has promoted officers and is encouraging a progression through the rank system.
“You have to understand why they are volunteers and work together so everyone is happy to chip in” he says.
Robert says the community is reaching out to support the brigade, with locals Annie Kitchener and Carol Parkes starting Friends of the Brigade to help raise funds for the new station.
“We want a bigger community focus because we all live here and want it to be safe. The community can then see we are a functioning brigade.”
The latest fundraiser is a Queen’s Birthday garage sale on June 3.
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