Re­sponse cen­tre opens

Talk of the Town - - FRONT PAGE - TK MTIKI and JON HOUZET

More than a year af­ter it was meant to open, the In­te­grated Emer­gency Re­sponse Cen­tre at Bush­man’s River was fi­nally handed over to Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity by Sarah Baart­man District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity on Oc­to­ber 19.

The re­sponse cen­tre re­places the old fire sta­tion which used to house a fire en­gine for the Ken­ton-Bush­man’s area.

The new build­ing was com­pleted about 18 months ago, but by last Novem­ber res­i­dents were won­der­ing why it was still stand­ing empty and un­used, with no fire en­gine present.

Any fire in the Ken­ton area ne­ces­si­tated an en­gine be­ing dis­patched from Port Al­fred. The re­sponse time was also af­fected by the stop-go’s on Al­bany Road and South­well Road.

Last Novem­ber, mu­nic­i­pal spokesman Ce­cil Mbolekwa said there were on­go­ing dis­cus­sions be­tween Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and Sarah Baart­man District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity about the hand­ing over of the fa­cil­ity to Nd­lambe.

“The of­fi­cial open­ing of the emer­gency cen­tre will be done soon,” Mbolekwa said at the time.

It fi­nally hap­pened a fort­night ago. Nd­lambe mayor Phindile Faxi ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the district mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Speak­ing on his be­half, Mbolekwa said: “In ac­cep­tance of the In­te­grated Emer­gency Re­sponse Cen­tre the mayor was grate­ful to the district for putting Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­der its wing be­cause the district will al­ways give sup­port to Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity”.

Mbolekwa ex­plained that the cen­tre was the district’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and there­fore it would give the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­wa­ver­ing sup­port in this re­gard. Ac­cord­ing to Mbolekwa, the fa­cil­ity came at the right time when it was needed most.

“The fa­cil­ity is meant to ac­com­mo­date Nd­lambe as a whole, but in the mean­time the fo­cus will be on the west­ern side.”

Mbolekwa said the fa­cil­ity came as a re­lief to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s fire­men, who would not have to travel the long dis­tances should they be called out to any emer­gency, thus saving valu­able re­sponse time.

The hand­ing over of the cen­tre was not the only of­fi­cial han­dover by Sarah Baart­man mayor Khun­juzwa Kekana.

She also had keys to a refuse truck and a bakkie which would as­sist fire de­part­ment of­fi­cials in car­ry­ing out their du­ties. Kekana also handed over certificates to trainees in fire ser­vices.

Mbolekwa said the long-awaited cen­tre was built by the district for Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the 2015-2016 fi­nan­cial year. He said the fa­cil­ity would ac­com­mo­date am­bu­lance and fire ser­vices ve­hi­cles.

READY FOR USE: The In­te­grated Emer­gency Re­sponse Cen­tre at Bush­man’s River was of­fi­cially opened on Oc­to­ber 19 and will have am­bu­lance and fire ser­vices ve­hi­cles on standby

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