New site for Ponsonby fire station
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.