NZFS Announces Christchurch Fire Station Redevelopment Plans

Published:  10 December, 2013

The New Zealand Fire Service is to build seven new fire stations in Christchurch to meet the known and emerging needs of the city and its communities.

Three of the new stations – in the city, Woolston and Addington – will be built on existing sites and the remaining four in new locations, serving suburbs in the east of the city, in the southern corridor, in the north-west and in the suburbs clustered around Ilam. The Fire Service will partner in the combined Justice and Emergency Services Precinct as well as maintaining a central city operational station.

The $50 million project was announced by Prime Minister,  John Key, at an event at the Christchurch central fire station last month.

A team led by the recently-appointed Region 4 Fire Region Manager, Brendan Nally, recommended the seven new station option to the Fire Service Commission following an extensive process of consultation with stakeholders and data analysis programme.

Since the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, NZFS has operated and delivered services from a number of temporary sites.

‘The NZFS has a unique greenfields opportunity to put stations where they can best meet the needs of the community now and in the future,’ said Paul Baxter, New Zealand Fire Service National Commander and Chief Executive. ‘I would like to thank Brendan Nally and his project team for the thorough and thoughtful work they have put into bringing the project to this point.’

‘The NZFS emergency response capabilities are supported by advice, guidance and education within communities so we had a unique opportunity to consider how to provide better public services to the people of Christchurch.

‘We will be able to better match resources to risk and align our station network to future transportation, infrastructure and demographic changes in the city.

‘The population has shifted dramatically as a result of the earthquakes, our fire stations were badly damaged and the NZFS is expanding its role in society so the timing of this redevelopment project is pivotal.

‘The NZFS also felt it was important to underline its commitment to the redevelopment of the CBD by confirming the maintenance of the central city station in addition to our partnership in the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct,’ said Mr Baxter.

The station redevelopment project will result in no reduction in the number of fire stations, fire engines or firefighter and staff numbers servicing the city.

The Christchurch Urban Fire District currently includes stations at Harewood, Addington, Sockburn, St Albans, Woolston and Christchurch City. The NZFS review also included volunteer fire brigades at Brooklands, Kaiapoi, Rolleston, Lincoln, Sumner, Lyttleton and New Brighton.

A number of options to deliver a new fire station network for the city were considered before the preferred seven-station option was presented to the Fire Service Commission.

‘The need to develop a comprehensive network of permanent facilities, located where they can best meet the needs of the community now and for the future has driven an extensive review and consultation process,’ said Mr Baxter.

‘This is a unique opportunity to provide our community with assets that can be used in multiple ways to support community activity and engagement while still providing emergency response and the provision of advice and guidance.

‘NZFS is particularly focussed on expanding our role in society. The new network will allows us to contribute to the service’s ideal of contributing to safer communities,’ Mr Baxter said.

It also allows the possibility of realising aspirations for inter-agency cooperation, inter-operability and resource sharing.

The seven-station redevelopment proposal to the Fire Service Commission included detailed analysis of the type and location of emergency incidents, complex computer modelling, internal and external stakeholder engagement and consideration of future factors, such as demographic changes within the city.

Horizon scanning (a futures thinking methodology) with partner agencies took into account known and reasonably expected future developments. That included a business case currently under review by the NZFS for a new Training Centre and Urban Search and Rescue base in the vicinity of Christchurch.

‘The development of the Christchurch network provides an opportunity to deliver a future-proofed network of stations that meets community needs and can respond to ever-changing call type and demand,’ Mr Baxter said.

‘At the same time we can improve staff welfare and contribute to staff well being through well-designed and optimally located stations.

‘The unique nature of the redevelopment also presents the opportunity to incorporate energy-saving and resilience creating green technologies,’ Mr Baxter said.

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