Central Otago is about as far from the cost as you can get in this country but volunteers provide a Coastguard services which now has a new home in Clyde.
Coastguard Clyde is one of aonly a handful of inland Coastguard unit in the country. It was established in 2004, gained a rescue vessel in 2006 and officially opened it’s new purpose built base on Saturday 30th October.
The building, next to the Department of Conservations Otago Rural Fire Centre near Clyde, represented another milestone for the Clyde unit, president Tony Smith said.
Until the building was constructed, DOC had made room available in one of its sheds at the rural fire centre for the Coastguard Rescue Vessel. DOC has also provided the land for the new headquarters free of charge.
“We’re very supportive of these organisations that provide services which allow people to enjoy places safely” DOC Central Otago area manager Mike Tubbs said.
About 40 people attended the official opening of the building including DOC staff, fire service and St John volunteers, search and rescue personnel and Coastguard Queenstown volunteers.
“Five years ago, I never dreamed we’d be here today with a building of our own,” Mr Smith said. It was a real privilege to work with the 13 volunteers in the group and he thanked the men’s families for their support. He was also grateful to DOC for its support.
The building cost $55,000 and grants were received from the NZ Community Trust, Otago Community Trust, Pub Charity and Alexandra Lions Club.
Mr Smith said volunteers also devoted a lot of time to off water activities such as water safety training and education. Many of the units call-outs involved people walking tracks around the river and lakes, who fell and injured themselves. Locating those people and transporting them on water was often easier than a land rescue.
The next goal for the Unit is to raise funds to purchase a 4WD vehicle to tow the rescue boat as they were currently reliant on member vehicles being available.
Abridged from Otago Daily Times