The Lake Okareka brigade had operated out of an old rural fire depot since 1985, and although that depot had served the community and brigade well, it was no longer fit for purpose. It was too small for the brigade’s 32 members and didn’t have training facilities or many of the features – like basic ablutions - expected in a modern fire station.
The new station has an appliance bay that houses the brigade’s three vehicles (a fire appliance, water tanker and smoke chaser), training and decontamination facilities, and a large meeting room and kitchen facilities. It is fully seismically strengthened so will continue to be a reliable base for the community after a large earthquake.
Minister Tinetti thanked the Lake Okareka volunteers for their great service to the community and acknowledged families for their ongoing support. She noted the new station is a real asset for the Lake Okareka community and beyond.
Fire and Emergency Board Chair Paul Swain acknowledged the fundraising efforts of the local brigade and a grant from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust towards this project, which mean the training room, kitchen and bathrooms are available for community use.
He also acknowledged the change in types of incidents since the brigade was first formed and stressed the importance of looking out for each other.
The event was also attended by Councillor Dave Donaldson, Kaumatua Wairangi Jones and Pererika Mahika, co-founders of the brigade Peter Harding and Martin Caughey, long-time Lake Okareka resident Fenella Payne, Lake Okareka Contoller Phil Muldoon, and Lake Okareka Rural Fire Brigade members, family and friends.
L-R Internal Affairs Minister Hon. Jan Tinetti, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust's Tony Gill, Fire and Emergency Board Chair Paul Swain, Lake Okareka Contoller Phil Muldoon, and Councillor Dave Donaldson
Fire and Emergency Board Chair Paul Swain addresses attendees
Minister Tinetti declares Lake Okareka Fire Station open