AMBULANCE veterans enjoying a well-earned retirement are glad to see construction start on the new Albury ambulance station.
Joss Construction has won a $1,621,936 contract over four other builders to complete the building in Wagga Road, Lavington by April.
The total estimated cost of the project, including land, is $4 million.
Yesterday about 15 former ambulance officers, who call themselves The Old Farts, gathered at The Star Hotel to celebrate their time at the ambulance station in Dean Street.
The station has been there since 1934 and, while none of the retired men were around that far back, between them they have racked up a remarkable 434 years of service.
The group strongly supports the new station location.
Brian Millgate, an ambulanceman for 38 years, said the main memory he had of the Albury station was “it was quite inadequate”.
“It especially became more difficult when the women could join in the mid-70s,” he said.
“The women didn’t have any private areas.”
Mr Millgate said a second Albury station had been built at Lavington during the 1980s.
“Then there was a change of government and policies and that station just remained unused,” he said.
Graham Petrie, who had 32 years in the service, said the old station was a “difficult” building.
“It was a rabbit warren but the outside structure reflects an era I feel should be preserved,” he said.
“I won’t have any criticisms about the new building, a place to kick up your heels and have a coffee and wait for the next phone call.”
Member for Albury Greg Aplin said the new site had been largely cleared and he expected an opening mid-year.
“The only thing that will put us back is the weather but it is cleared so they can dig the foundations and plant equipment is on site,” he said.
“It’s a great achievement and we can focus on bringing health services to Lavington.
“With the new library and tower it reinvigorates the area — it sends the signal the area is alive and growing.”