New digs a burning issue

Safe: Queenstown's Isle Street fire station

An emergency services hub might spring up at Frankton.

New Zealand Fire Service’s local boss Keith McIntosh says it needs bigger premises.

St John Central Lakes manager Kelvin Perriman reckons teaming up could reduce operating costs and confirms preliminary discussions are underway.

McIntosh says a study of fire stations is on the cards between now and Christmas. It will focus on where a new station or stations could be plonked.

Central Queenstown’s station, in Isle Street, will not be touched.

McIntosh stresses no decision has been made and the process could take years.

“It is a big unknown. We know we need to move to Frankton and we will look at options and do some analysis around that.”

Expansion at Frankton is inevitable as the district grows.

Last year the local Fire Service responded to 373 call-outs, including 167 for the 24-strong Frankton-based volunteers.

Wanaka is pitched as an example of good teamwork.

A $3 million-plus fire station on Ballantyne Road sprung up between the police station and new search and rescue headquarters.

“Of course we will always put those options out there, to other organisations, when we need to move. Potentially St John, civil defence, police – we will look at all those options when we look at a site,” McIntosh says.

He stresses resources are adequate and expansion plans are not a reflection of a lack of cover.

Perriman says nothing is concrete.

“It would make really good sense for emergency services in Queens-town and potentially as the area grows there is certainly some merit in looking at this.”

St John could look at returning to the CBD.

“Potentially we may end up with two sites. There is the potential for that in the future.”

Top local cop Inspector Olaf Jensen didn’t commit to an emergency services hub.

He says in an emailed statement: “Police are looking at the future impact of population growth in the Wakatipu area on police services but have not had any formalised discussions on joint co-habitation with other emergency services.”