Ambulance is coming back to the Waterfront
Media release from Wellington Free Ambulance
Wellington Free Ambulance is coming back to the Wellington Waterfront.
After over 15 years without a central city presence the region’s free emergency ambulance service is opening a base on the waterfront, in the Linkspan building which neighbours Te Papa on the Taranaki Wharf.
The standby ambulance base, which will be named the Linkspan Response Post, also sits near to WFA’s former waterfront homes, the old Rowing Club and the Cable Street building which now hosts St Johns bar.
WFA operations manager Rob Jenkins said the base will be home to a frontline crew and as such is equipped for their needs with general station facilities including comfy chairs, a television, computer and internet access and a premium view of the harbour.
“The Linkspan Response Post will allow paramedic crews prompt access to emergencies in the central Wellington area. This will bring a faster response to patients in need.”
Mr Jenkins said WFA estimated the base could respond to 1000 call-outs per month in the central city and surrounding suburbs.
“That is a significant number of people that this new station will positively affect.”
In a further milestone, the base is the first new site opened since WFA launched its Porirua Ambulance Station in 2001.
In addition it would increase the profile of the service in the CBD, he said.
“We have not had a site presence in the CBD since the Cable Street HQ closed down in 1993 and it is exciting to return to the waterfront.”
The Wellington Waterfront-owned building was built in 1969 and designed by famed architect Roger Walker. Back then it was operated by the Union Steam Ship Company to manage freight.
Renovations to the building cost $20,000, with support from Wellington businesses vital in funding the project including IBM NZ, Resene, Egley Electrical, Harbour City Security and Hirepool.
Among the challenges was painting the south-facing side of the building, which is a sheer drop directly into the water.
In the end an eight-metre cherry picker, provided courtesy of Hirepool, was used to stretch over the wharf edge to allow the painters access as they daubed on the new colours – all specified by the original architect.
Reconnecting the telephone and internet cables also wasn’t easy – Telecom piloted a boat under the wharf so a technician could hook the new base up.
The official opening of the base is Tuesday, November 25. Wellington City Mayor Kerry Prendergast will cut the ribbon followed by Father Pete Roe blessing the base before it becomes an operational Response Post.
Also attending will be the WFA board of directors, Wellington Waterfront chief executive officer Ian Pike (the landlord), Roger Walker and other sponsor representatives who contributed to the site’s development.