LifeFlight and RFDS aeromedical crews have had their first tour of the new joint, purpose-built, aeromedical base which, until today, they’d only seen from outside and as plans on paper.
Today’s on-site inspection marked the end of the construction phase of the project.
“Standing here today, it’s just a feeling of pure excitement,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Pilot, Peter Marris, said.
RFDS Manager of Clinical and Base Operations, Robyn Langton, said her team is preparing for the fit out stage.
“We’re already speaking with local businesses, to ensure we’re supporting the local community even further in the supply of furniture and equipment, which will make the new base comfortable for every patient we transfer throughout the region.”
Mr Marris said LifeFlight is especially excited about a built-for-purpose engineering workroom.
“That space means the chopper will, largely, be able to be serviced on-site, instead of being sent out of the region for works,” he said.
Construction workers, largely sourced from the Bundaberg region, have been on-site for months, building the structure.
The process has included clearing the site, building and raising walls, putting the roof on and most recently, the hangar floors being poured.
Hutchinson Builders Site Manager, Chris Luhrs, said now this stage of the project is complete, the rest of the base will come together quite quickly.
“Next we’ll bring through plasterers, painters, internal electricians for the final fit out,” he said.
“After that, outdoor works will begin, including laying asphalt and landscaping.”
Over 3,200 tonnes of concrete, 80 tonnes of reinforcement and 130 tonnes of structural steel has been used.
Located at the newly-developed Aviation and Aerospace Precinct at Bundaberg Airport, the new facility will be jointly used by RFDS and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue, replacing the existing, shared hangar.
Mrs Langton said community support, from across the Wide Bay and beyond, has been overwhelming.
“Seeing the construction come together so efficiently, and to see it now becoming a reality is incredible,” she said.
The project is expected to be finished early next year.
LifeFlight and RFDS have committed funds to this project and secured funding of three million dollars from the Australian Government, through the Building Better Regions Fund.
While this important infrastructure project has received generous support from the Australian Government and through a 25 year, long-term leasehold from Bundaberg Regional Council, the two charities are required to contribute the remaining 50% of the total project costs.
The new base will cost LifeFlight and RFDS $1.5 million each.
In an effort to offset that amount, community members are being encouraged to purchase a commemorative tile and leave their everlasting mark on the once-in-a-generation project.
The generous donations will be immortalised in the foyer of the new base, with a Wall of Appreciation to be dedicated to displaying the commemorative tiles.
To be a part of history, visit www.bundybase.org.au