New site for Pon­sonby fire sta­tion

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

FIRE EN­GINES will be based on Wil­liamson Ave again af­ter an 85-year ab­sence.

The Tip­pett Nurs­eries site in Grey Lynn has been sold to the Fire Ser­vice for a new Pon­sonby sta­tion.

Auck­land cen­tral chief fire of­fi­cer Brian Ed­wards says the move aims to give a faster re­sponse to Pt Che­va­lier.

“The long-term plan is to re­lo­cate Pon­sonby sta­tion to that site,” he says.

“It’s not in the best place now in terms of pro­vid­ing uni­form cov­er­age for Auck­land,” he says.

But it could be up to two years be­fore the plan­ning process is com­pleted and the sta­tion moved.

Pon­sonby’s first fire sta­tion, now a restau­rant and bar, opened at the north­ern end of Wil­liamson Ave in 1898.

The ser­vice moved to to­day’s Pon­sonby Rd lo­ca­tion in 1923, and the sta­tion was re­built on the same site in 1980.

The re­turn to Wil­liamson Ave is part of a wider strat­egy to en­sure a five-minute travel time to most fires.

Other mea­sures in­clude a new sta­tion to be built in Te Atatu, and mov­ing the Mt Roskill sta­tion.

Tip­pett Nurs­eries owner David Tip­pett says there’s been a pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from cus­tomers to the pro­posal.

“A lot of them are quite re­lieved that it’s not go­ing to be an apart­ment block,” he says.

“Gen­er­ally they all ap­pre­ci­ate the Fire Ser­vice is an im­por­tant part of the com­mu­nity.”

He says it was a good time to sell up af­ter 24 years in busi­ness.

“We’d been talk­ing about de­vel­op­ing the site and mov­ing on and this was the best of­fer we could find,” Mr Tip­pett says.

“It’s not a great time to be in re­tail the way con­sumer con­fi­dence is plum­met­ing and the com­pe­ti­tion from big com­pa­nies.”

The gar­den cen­tre is among few re­main­ing in­de­pen­dent cen­tres op­er­at­ing in sub­ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties.

“I think we’ve made a lot of friends over the years,” Mr Tip­pett says.

The nurs­ery will re­main open un­til at least the end of May.

Mr Tip­pett will then lease the land from the Fire Ser­vice for a year, and con­tinue to op­er­ate his land­scape gar­den­ing busi­ness from the site.

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