Fire brigade members embrace homeless RSA

By Janna Sherman

Hokitika war veterans ejected from their earthquake-risk headquarters a fortnight ago, have been taken in by the Hokitika Volunteer Fire Brigade.
The brigade has offered Hokitika RSA members a temporary venue to continue their Friday night social gatherings.
Chief fire officer Harry Collett said the arrangement was possible because some of the brigade’s life honorary members were also members of the RSA.
The brigade would continue to support them until they found a permanent new building of their own.
RSA president Lyall Delore said they were “extremely grateful” for the offer, which members took up on Friday.
The previous week they were suddenly evicted from their Sewell Street premises by Westland District Council staff due to earthquake safety concerns, despite having been told earlier that they could stay until September.
“We did have an agreement, but that agreement got shot,” Mr Delore said.
However, he was happy that progress was now being made to find a more permanent home.
Mayor Maureen Pugh said the way council staff dealt with the RSA closure was “deplorable”.
The council was now giving its full support to find a new space for them and their memorabilia.
A copy of the damning engineer’s report will be discussed at the council meeting on Thursday.