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Emergency ambulance housing

Westwood Property Group’s Steve Pilbrow, and Wellington Free Ambulance intensive care paramedics Hank Bader and Adam Stevenson. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Builders repurpose old Homestead Bar in under two weeks

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Westwood Property Group’s building team has spent the past seven days doing essential work on a new Masterton base for Wellington Free Ambulance.

Masterton’s fire depot has rubbed shoulders with the ambulance service for many years but from next week WFA will be gone from the Chapel St base and will shift to the old Homestead Bar and Grill premises next to Copthorne Solway Park.

The decision to move was quick and WFA chief executive Mike Grant said he was pleased to be getting a fit-for-purpose site with more space which could be required amid the covid-19 pandemic.

“With storage for further medical supplies and personal protective equipment, space for extra ambulances and vehicle decontamination processes, additional space was identified,” Grant said.

“Westwood Property Group understood our needs and established a community-minded solution.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the Westwood team helping us remain here for our community.

“As we continue to monitor our response to covid-19, WFA remains operational with additional measures in place to ensure its resources can sufficiently meet demand.”

Eight members of the WPG building team are working during lockdown to get the vacant premises ready.

WPG managing director Steve Pilbrow has his builders and other support contractors working during the lockdown.

“They are doing this out of goodwill to get the site ready for the ambulance crew during covid-19. The building is fine but needed a refit,” Pilbrow said.

The developers ripped out a bar to put in a kitchen and are getting showers into a new bathroom.

It is setting up bays for hosing and cleaning six ambulances and support vehicles.

Pilbrow aims to have the fit-out done early next week if not sooner.

To keep everyone separated from each other as required, he has some contractors coming in at night. Pilbrow has drilled the team on the importance of the lockdown rules and any staff who felt uncomfortable with the situation for family or health reasons were not involved.

“My builders have been in the same work bubble for some time before the lockdown but the sparkies are coming in at night, so we are running separated crews on the fit-out.”

The new WFA Masterton station can accommodate up to six ambulances, three response cars and one rescue vehicle.

Staff numbers in Wairarapa during the covid-19 response are stable, with 40-45 staff.


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