A land swap between the New Zealand Fire Service and Far North Holdings Ltd has paved the way for the construction of a modern new fire house and emergency facilities at Paihia.
The negotiated arrangement will see the local volunteer fire brigade relocated in the near future to a new building on a new site in central Selwyn Road with room for much larger and improved emergency facilities. The Fire Service will continue to operate from the existing building until the new facility has been built.
FNHL chairman Tony Norman says the transaction is essentially a land swap in which the fire service gains the company's Selwyn Road site which is temporarily being used for parking, and the company acquires the existing fire station site in Williams Road.
“We both have the same aim– to provide improved services to the community. On the one hand the fire service has long required a larger, central site for a modern new fire station and on the other, we have an interest in their old site for its strategic association with our existing property holdings,” he says.
“Negotiations for a possible land swap have been in train for sometime and it is pleasing that with the assistance and support of the Far North District Council the arrangement has now finally been completed," he says.
FNHL owns the Williams Road car park property which adjoins the existing fire station and already has concept plans for its future development.
"These plans are in line with community aspirations for an improved image for the central business district (CBD) and link in with the recently consented Paihia Waterfront Re-development project. While the development of this area is still some way off, the acquisition of the old fire station site has been critical to expanding the options available.
"There is now a range of alternatives available for improving traffic and pedestrian flows, parking and service facilities in the Paihia CBD. The company will work with the council and the community to evaluate these new options," he says.
Mr Norman says there are exciting opportunities ahead for Paihia and the Bay of Island to secure the future of one of New Zealand’s leading visitor destinations.