The new Kawakawa Bay fire station celebrated its opening on Saturday. Amongst the guests were Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti and Mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff.
The station has been upgraded to 2021 operational standards to provide enhanced coverage and response as a result of increased traffic driven by the popularity of Kawakawa Bay for boaties and recreationists.
The idea for a total refurbishment on the original interior (that dated back to 1974), was conceived in 2009 on the back of unfavourable seismic reports and functionality issues.
Initial fundraising for the station was at the initiative of the Brigade in the form of several community-minded projects including a raft race, picking up hay from farmers and staging a trail bike ride. The funds raised contributed to an enlargement of the social area at the back of the station. Further funding came from the government as part of a 57 Million dollar package to upgrade Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) stations around the country.
This additional money for property projects comes after a successful bid to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund and the Crown Infrastructure Partners project funding by FENZ who said in a statement on their website “We put this bid in response to the Government’s recent call for ‘shovel ready projects. We saw this as an opportunity to accelerate our work under our national Capital Works Programme, which is focused on making sure that our facilities are fit for purpose.”
Minister Jan Tinetti said the station was “number four in a total of twenty-six new stations around the country, part of the over fifty-million dollar rebuild package over the next two years”.
Mayor Phil Goff made mention of the ‘”out of control ” vehicles that frequent the roads into Kawakawa Bay and said he felt “the refurbishment was long overdue” before thanking the Brigade and associated volunteers saying the day was “all äbout- all of you” and added that the “community rely on you to keep things safe around here”.
Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, whose family (according to Goff) “cut the road from Kawakawa Bay to Orere Point”, spoke of the brigade as the “heart and soul of the community” who were “often called upon to attend car accidents and put out bushfires”.
After the speeches, a plaque officially opening the Station was unveiled by Tinetti, and Chief Fire Officer Jeff O’Sullivan thanked everyone involved in the project and remarked that after “moving in just this morning” the station has taken on a “whole new atmosphere”.