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A sight the locals thought they would never see. Image: Contributed

Construction starts on Iluka’s first ambulance station

Iluka’s dream of having its own ambulance station became a bit more real last week as construction began on the project which Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis said was “powered by people and the sun.”

Mr Gulaptis was joined onsite for an official sod-turning ceremony to mark this significant milestone with members of the Iluka Ambulance Station Action Group, Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons, representatives from the Iluka Bowling Club, local paramedics and officials from NSW Ambulance and Health Infrastructure.

“It was definitely people power that made this possible. There is no way I could have convinced the Government to go ahead without the drive of the Iluka community, led in this instance by the tireless Triple-O heroes Ann and John Maclean,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“It has also been sped along with the enthusiastic cooperation of many stakeholders, including the Iluka Bowls Club and Clarence Valley Council.”

“And because we are a nature loving bunch here in the Lower Clarence, the new building is going to be solar powered to reduce its impact on the environment.”

Located in Spenser Street next to the Bowls Club that provided the land, the station is being constructed by award-winning Northern Rivers family builders Bennett Constructions who say the job should take about six months.

Designed with input from local paramedics, it is tailored to the needs of the local community and incudes relief accommodation and a wash bay in addition to the basics.

The Iluka community was initially told their town was too small to justify an ambulance station, but after Chris Gulaptis brought Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro to meet locals, the bureaucrats were overruled and ordered to get the project under way.

Last Wednesday’s  sod-turning ceremony marks the official start of construction with main works on the new station scheduled for completion by early 2022, followed by a fit-out and an operational commissioning phase prior to the commencement of operations from the new facility.

The station is being delivered as part of the $132 million Rural Ambulance Infrastructure (RAIR) Stage 1 program by the NSW Government.