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Ratepayers cough up $14,000

Neil Palmer is pleased that the station was been repositioned. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON


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The dispute between a resident and the rural fire service over the siting of Tinui’s new fire station has cost ratepayers thousands of dollars more than originally planned.

The build had been delayed since the middle of this year after a dispute began over the location of the station on the Masterton District Council-owned land.

The work on the foundations had already began when the rural fire service reluctantly agreed to move the building back 5m.

After it was decided to halt the build and move it back, the council paid half of the additional costs amounting to $14,500 with the rural fire service meeting the other half.

Principal rural fire officer Phill Wishnowsky said he was “angry with the outcome”.

“We were trying to do something good for the community . . . we are just trying to get on and meet all the regulations and tick all the boxes,” Mr Wishnowsky said.

“It has cost well over $20,000 just to move the building footprint.”

The neighbouring home to the new fire station will have better views. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON

If there had been no delay in moving the foundations back 5m, the station would have been up and operational at the end of June, weather permitting, he said.

When the ­Times-Age spoke to Neil Palmer, an ex-Tinui fireman and long-term resident in early April, he had concerns over the new site mapped out on the section along Blackhill Rd.

He said the proximity of the station to the road would block views of the neighbouring home and would be an eyesore to tourists.

Mr Palmer presented a petition with signatures from the community to halt the build.

He said it needed to be moved back 3m, and to the left 3m further away from the fence.

He did not know now why they had moved it back 5m.

“Rather than have any other arguments, five metres was good and that suits us fine.”

When the decision was made to reposition the site, only the trenches for the foundations had been done, he said.

The fire service’s $20,000 “sounds like a rough estimate”.

Mr Palmer’s brother, who lives in the neighbouring home, was pleased with the outcome and now will have a better view from his kitchen and lounge windows.

“We want to thank the fire service and the council for understanding,” he said.

Caryl Forrest lives a couple of houses down from the new station.

She was happy to see the foundations had been moved back, but said there didn’t seem to be much activity since the concrete was poured a couple of month ago.

Mr Wishnowsky said he did not know when the station would be completed.

In June last year, Masterton District Council gave a $40,000 grant from its general capital fund towards the project.

Resource consent was granted by the council in mid-2016, and the location of the station site met specific fire service building standards.

The new station is a replacement of the original depot that lay in the floodplain of the area.

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