Kingston’s self-help

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Kingston is a step closer to bringing its emergency services into the 21st century.

Plans to coordinate the rural fire service and St John ambulance with a medical room – plus space for a local cop – are being finalised, with an agreement last week to price up the project.

Spearheaded by the Kingston Community Association, the facility is expected to be built later this year once funding is secured.

It’ll be a huge improvement for the simple St John service in the township, says Dunedin-based area committee relationship manager Darrel Robinson.

Presently, eight “very ded­icated” volunteers represent the service’s “first response unit”.

The team uses a 4WD as a “mini-ambulance” – parked in a “rickety garage” with no other facilities.

The existing fire station will be expanded to house a fourth appliance – “there’s three in their shed now and it’s only got two doors so it’s a bit of a struggle getting them out”, Robinson says.

A separate building will go next door to accommodate St John and other services.

The expansion means that over time Kingston will have a fully equipped ambulance service, says Robinson.

“It’s a big patch down there and the nearest [St John ambulance] support is Queenstown … or Lumsden, which is a volunteer station. It’s really good to have something in the middle.

“From a St John perspective, it’s absolutely the right thing for Kingston, and in good spirit for the community association and emergency services.”

The $300,000 project’s reliant on fundraising – already St John has promised at least $25,000 and Queenstown Lakes District Council has set aside $50,000.

The community has raised more than $14,000.

Over the next month building quotes will be collected so funding applications can be pitched to community trusts.