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New facilities for mountain community

12 May 2005

New facilities for mountain community

Prime Minister Helen Clark opened two new facilities today at Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park: the replacement Plateau Hut, and an emergency services building.

“These two new buildings are the products of co-operation and partnership between the local community, business and government,” Helen Clark said.

The purpose-built, five-bay emergency services building will house the five emergency services operating in the park: the industrial fire brigade (local body), the rural fire first response unit, Alpine Search and Rescue, St Johns, and Civil Defence.

As well as housing specialised equipment and vehicles, the emergency service building will be used as the operational base for all emergency call outs and as a training centre for local volunteers.

“This building cost almost $400,000 and was jointly funded by the Department of Conservation, the NZ Police, St Johns, the Mackenzie District Council, and the residents of the Aoraki / Mt Cook Village. This project will ensure the continued provision of effective emergency response to both residents and visitors," Helen Clark said.

"The replacement of Plateau Hut, at a cost of more than $800,000, was made possible by the $349 million funding package for outdoor recreation facilities announced by this government in 2002, plus a contribution of $44,000 from the New Zealand Alpine Club.

“Plateau Hut is arguably New Zealand's most well known alpine hut, and is the major destination for mountaineers and climbers wishing to attempt ascents of New Zealand’s highest peaks – Aoraki / Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. Its importance to the local climbing community is illustrated by the contributions they have made to this project.

“Specifically designed for the harsh alpine environment - it is engineered to withstand winds up to 250km per hour - the building of Plateau Hut is a great technical achievement, and I’d like to extend my congratulations to all those involved in the project.”

ENDS

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