A new $4.5m St John Ambulance depot in Tauranga is expected to be completed in February after years of waiting and work.

Jeremy Gooders, district operations manager at St John, said the new building on 17th Ave would be a control hub for ambulance operations as well as St John's other community services and programmes.

"This area, the Western Bay of Plenty, is very fast-growing and our workload has grown enormously over the years," he said.

"The project has been going for a number of years and until 247 Cameron Rd, the business people there, and TECT got involved and supported it, we wouldn't have got it across the line.

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"We're extremely grateful and it's a significant project for us. We couldn't have done it without them."

The expected completion date was about February 14, Gooders said.

He said it was "a fantastic relief" to see the build, which started last year, progressing towards the finish. CBC Construction Tauranga is building the new site.

(Left to right) TECT's Wayne Werder, Jeremy Gooders from St John Ambulance, and Glenn Keaney from KPMG at the new St John Ambulance depot in Tauranga, due to be completed next month. Photo / George Novak
(Left to right) TECT's Wayne Werder, Jeremy Gooders from St John Ambulance, and Glenn Keaney from KPMG at the new St John Ambulance depot in Tauranga, due to be completed next month. Photo / George Novak

The new depot would replace the original 1980s St John Ambulance station on 17th Ave and Clarke St, which did not meet earthquake safety requirements.

The new building was larger and more resilient and was built to the new IL4 standard required for emergency service buildings.

The St John Tauranga Building Project Charitable Trust - formed in 2014 by businesses in the ANZ Business Centre (247 Cameron Rd) - helped raise $2,459,000 for the new depot.

It also helped facilitate funding, building plans and consents, and pitched the project to the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust (TECT), which contributed $2,034,000.

The NZ Community Trust gave $325,000 towards the new depot, Tauranga Police's CIB Charitable Trust Auction raised another $100,000 and local organisations funded the balance.

Wayne Werder, general manager of TECT, said it was one of those projects that made a lot of sense for Tauranga and the region.

"It's important to have a really strong St John and it was time for a rebuild – we could clearly see that.

"For the St John guys, they've had to work around it for a number of years, so I think for them being in it in February [this] year will be fantastic."

Werder said there was a lot of community input in the project.

"This is one of our biggest grants we'll make, so it's a serious contribution but it is to a project that a lot of people … you kind of hope they won't need to use the service, but lots of people do."

(Left to right) Jeremy Gooders from St John Ambulance, TECT's Wayne Werder and Glenn Keaney from KPMG inside the new St John Ambulance depot in Tauranga, due to be completed next month. Photo / George Novak
(Left to right) Jeremy Gooders from St John Ambulance, TECT's Wayne Werder and Glenn Keaney from KPMG inside the new St John Ambulance depot in Tauranga, due to be completed next month. Photo / George Novak

The trust's chairman is Bayleys' Richard Cashmore, Matt Tustin from Cooney Lees Morgan and Mark Robinson of Staples Rodway are finance committee members, and Albie Mulder from Aurecon and KPMG's Glenn Keaney are members of the building committee.

All the businesses in the 247 Cameron Rd building joined together and offered professional support and also helped to source temporary premises for St John.

Glenn Keaney, office managing partner at KPMG, said it was a project that had been trying to get off the ground for about 10 years.

"We all do pretty well in this town and we want to give back and I think our people and staff want to see us contributing and it doesn't always have to be with money, but it's also making things happen and facilitating."

There were a lot of little roadblocks but the trust managed to get around them, Keaney said.

"You think it's going to be easy, but there were all sorts of things that happened.

"The hours could get quite significant, but when you get to here, it's all worth it."

Staff in the 247 Cameron Rd building would get involved in some plantings and maybe a volunteer day in 2018, Keaney said, and would continue their support and fundraising well past opening day.

"It's just great to see the teamwork and people getting behind a project – different businesses but all with a common goal. It was quite rewarding."

Members of the St John Tauranga Building Charitable Trust are ANZ Bank, Aurecon, Bayleys, Cooney Lees Morgan, Staples Rodway, Rothbury, KPMG, Key Research and Elizabeth Cafe.

The new $4.5m St John Ambulance depot:

-The floor size is about1700sq m and is over one third larger than the previous station.
-It will allow more space for staff training, clinical coaching and increased garaging for emergency ambulances and support vehicles.
-The station will average around 25,000 callouts per year.
-Tauranga is the St John Ambulance headquarters for the Central East district.
-The location of the depot is less than 1km from Tauranga Hospital, which will allow staff to get back to the station, restock and clean vehicles ready for the next job quickly.
-The location also allows easy deployment of vehicles to Te Puke, Katikati, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga city.
-St John has 180 ambulance staff and volunteers and about 18 support staff in the Western Bay of Plenty.