Puhoi Rural Force Force May Report
28/05/2013 Report for the Forum.
The brigade has been quiet of late with just medicals being our mainstay. It always amazes me just how often there is not an ambulance readily available from Warkworth or Silverdale and we get responded whilst one is sent up from town or Wellsford. That said it is something we do willingly for the community and are lucky to have 4 St John Ambulance personnel in our brigade to help perform these duties.
Members of the Puhoi Brigade spent many hours at the 3 big fires the region had this year- Gt Barrier, Tapora and Matakana, and gained some fantastic fire ground knowledge and skills during this time. All reports from the fire ground bosses were that our members were a credit to the brigade. Well done!
Obviously the Fire Season is now well and truly over. As we are all now part of the large Auckland Fire District we in Rodney had to wait for other areas of Auckland to get rain so the whole area could be changed to an open season- which is why it took so long even though Puhoi was very damp indeed.
Please remember that even though it is an open season for fires there is a provision in the clean air act regarding smoke and if we are called out to a fire that has a smoke nuisance element to it we have to extinguish it. Oh and don’t put your hot ashes in a plastic bucket either, especially on a wooden deck!!!
Unfortunately age gets the better of some things and our tanker has succumbed to old age and wear and tear. The engine has given up. The Council in its wisdom has deemed that Puhoi shall no longer have a tanker much to the brigade’s disappointment and will not be repairing it. However the Brigade will be getting a newer ute to replace our own one and it with have some special fire fighting apparatus on it- a first in NZ apparently- so we are looking forward to this and what it can do.
Of most importance is the issuing of the Resource Consent to allow us to build our Fire Station at 52 Ahuroa Rd.
Although the process was lengthy and sometimes moving at a glacial pace I am comfortable that it was fair process and allowed the affected parties to share their concerns and have them considered. The hearing was before two commissioners who had visited the site and were fully aware of Puhoi’s uniqueness. All parties acted with integrity and I thank them for that. The consent has come with some restrictions which we have fully agreed with in the interests of preserving the neighbours privacy. In fact the brigade requested of the commissioners that some usage was removed from the application as we could see that it was infringing on the neighbours rights and we felt it important to prioritise that.
So now that we have the resource consent we need to get some plans drawn up and approved then off to the funders for some money we go. Our best gestimate at this stage is we will need to raise another $300,000 to complete the station, which will probably be about $600,000 in total. Obviously these figures will be able to be verified once plans,etc have been agreed and finalised. We are now requesting letters of interest from contractors or professionals that can help us in the design, plan, build of the Station.
The Brigade will have a display at the June Farmers Market for people to come and view a mock up of a draft design of the station to get feedback and ideas from the community, that we can incorporate in the final design. We are hoping to get some tangible progress by the end of the year.
The brigade is also looking for new volunteers ( or even some of the oldtimers to come back! ) so please contact myself or Rob Beardmore if you are interested. The main prerequisite is to live or work close enough to the station so you can respond within 4 minutes.
So, keep yourself safe, report any incidents to 111 and thanks for your support.
Chief Fire Officer