Green light for new Karikari fire station

Published on 20 August 2020

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Karikari Peninsula firefighters will be better equipped to protect local residents and their properties following a decision to give Fire and Emergency New Zealand a 33-year lease to the site of a new fire station.

The decision made during the Council’s 13 August meeting will allow Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to proceed with plans to replace its ageing depot on Matai Bay Road with a modern fire and emergency response centre.

FENZ has long used the Matai Bay Road reserve land for its depot, but its licence to use the site was due to expire in April 2021. Before it could build its new station, FENZ needed to confirm security of tenure on the council-owned land.

To change the lease on the reserve, the Council was first required to consult with the community. It undertook a month-long consultation beginning in May. Six submissions were received, all supporting the proposal. Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu also supports the lease proposal.

Far North Mayor John Carter says giving FENZ a 33-year lease was the right decision and one the community wanted. “We know that emergency call outs in the area have become increasingly challenging as the population has grown and as fire events have become more extreme due to the effects of our changing climate. I know the community will feel safer once the new fire and emergency response centre is completed.”

There have been several large scrub fires at Karikari Peninsula over the last 10 years, including one in 2011 in which two firefighters lost their lives in a helicopter crash.

In its decision, the Council agreed to classify 2467.5 square meters of land as a Local Purpose (Community Building) Reserve under the Reserves Act 1977 for the new fire station and associated carparking. The remainder of the site will be classified as a Recreation Reserve for public use. The Council will also transfer ownership of the existing fire depot to FENZ for $1.