Response centre opens
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