FOR 90 years paramedics have operated from the pale brick building on Centre St in Casino.
Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow said he’d been to the station “a few times as a young boy to get stitched up.”
All that is about to change after an announcement on Friday about a modern ambulance station to replace it.
State Minister for Health Brad Hazzard joined the mayor, State MP Chris Gulaptis and paramedics at the station to discuss where, how and when the station will be built.
“The next step will be to decide on the best location for the new Casino station and we’ll be guided by ... software that maps Triple Zero calls,” Mr Gulaptis said.
Mr Hazzard acknowledged the blue shirts: “We value our paramedics beyond belief.”
Paramedics and the community will be consulted on the best site for the new station, he said.
The new base will include the latest technology and will have relaxing areas for paramedics between callouts.
“The intention is to get the land identified as quickly as possible,” Mr Hazzard said.
Paramedic Hayley Hemmings said they had outgrown the station: “The new station will have a lot more infrastructure, new equipment and training spaces”.
Ambulance acting inspector Michael Edwards Hughes said Casino paramedic numbers had grown from five to 19.
The funding comes from the state's $232 million Rural Ambulance Infrastructure Reconfiguration program that is bringing 24 new or upgraded ambulance stations in NSW.
The existing station in Casino will continue while the new station is built over two years.
Keeping Jack's service alive
ON THE grass outside the Casino Ambulance Station is a special flagpole and a plaque in honour of Jack McDonald who drove the ambulance for many years.
McDonald family members are concerned about what will happen to the memorials to Jack when a new station is built.
Jack died in 1948 aged 32. His family were sharefarmers at Wyan near Rappville.
His nephew Tom McDonald said Jack must have left an impression on the community to have flagpole and plaque installed outside the ambulance station.
“My Dad and Jack’s brother Vivian McDonald used to admire and talk about Jack a lot,” Tom said.
“My Dad was a single man just returned from World War II and was a young man when his older brother passed away.”
State MP Chris Gulaptis said that if Jack McDonald had played such a significant role in the history of Casino and the community valued his contribution, the flagpole and plaque should be preserved.
“Their location should be determined by the community and I will do everything possible to ensure they are preserved and relocated if that is what they decide,” he said.