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Iluka Bowls Club’s president, Ray Flaherty (4th form right, front), Ann and John McLean (centre with white t-shirts), pictured with bowls club directors and members. Image: Contributed

Bowlo answers community’s ‘000’ call

Geoff Helisma |

Iluka Bowls Club has offered to provide land for the proposed ambulance station in Iluka.

Estimated to come with a $10million price tag, the NSW Government is currently working on “detailed service planning” and “site acquisitions studies” for the proposed station, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said after the NSW budget was released in June.

The bowls club’s general manager, Nicola Donsworth, said the land is located next to the netball court on the corner of Denne and Spenser streets.

“It would be a perfect central location, with two street accesses, next to the helicopter landing area on the sports oval and next to the skate park and, and as we know, the majority of our town’s population is ageing.

“It may be necessary to rezone the land but it might be an offer that the council and state government might find difficult to refuse.

“We are hoping that if this offer is viable it may speed up the process and get this ambulance station established.”

Ms Donsworth said the club’s board is in favour of the idea, subject to the club members’ approval.

Iluka Ambulance Action Group spearheads, Ann and John McLean, welcomed the offer.

“The need for an ambulance station in Iluka has become more important than ever,” Ms McLean said.

“Response times are getting longer.

“There have been many incidents where paramedics have been sent from Grafton and Evans Head, due to there not being an ambulance available in Yamba or Maclean.

“This is often caused because the paramedics are being utilised to transport patients from Maclean to Lismore or the Gold Coast.

“This takes valuable resources from the area when needed.”

For his part in the process, Mr Gulaptis said in an emailed response to Ann and John McLean that he “appreciated [that] the community is interested in the timeline for the ambulance station construction”.

“I have sought another update from the Health Minister on planning and the offer of land by the bowling club,” he said.

“There will be a number of great milestones for the community to be involved in as the project progresses.”

Mr Gulaptis has previously said that “construction is anticipated to commence in 2020-21”.

“The construction timeframe is estimated to take about two years,” he said.

The budget papers list the ambulance station as commencing “prior to March 2023”.