[singlepic id=438 w=320 h=240 float=left] Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt today welcomed the official opening of the new Gordonvale Ambulance Station, attended by Minister for Community Safety, Jack Dempsey.

Mr Pitt said that since the 2009 state election he had been lobbying the government for an improved facility at Gordonvale.

“The existing ambulance station was constructed in 1946 and despite extensive upgrades over the years it was no longer suitable to meet the needs of the community,” Mr Pitt said.

“The recent expansion of Gordonvale, especially on the western side of the Bruce Highway was putting stress on the service.

“The initial plan was to demolish the old ambulance building and rebuild on the existing site, however the community was concerned that a new building would not be in keeping with the Gordonvale ‘character precinct’.

“After public consultation it was decided that it would be more appropriate to co-locate the station in the grounds of the Gordonvale Memorial Hospital.

“The $2.3 million project sustained the equivalent of 13 much needed jobs in the construction phase – a time when building projects in Cairns were almost at a standstill.

“The new station accommodates a 24-hour roster of 11 staff, with facilities including office accommodation, two rest/study rooms, a five bay plant room, and associated staff amenities.

“Local residents can rest assured that the Cliff Trembath Memorial Training Room, which plays a valuable role within our community is part of the new centre.”

Mr Pitt said the future of the old ambulance station remains uncertain.

“The usual practice is for obsolete buildings to be offered to other government departments, then other levels of government. If there is no interest they are offered for sale – usually by tender or auction.

“I would hope that any future development on the Cannon Street site can retain the facade in keeping with the character precinct.

“There is also a demountable building on the site which I hope can be retained in the community and used by a community group.”