Lot 47: The home the community built

In 2018, St John, which provides ambulance services throughout New Zealand, was planning to build a new state-of-the-art ambulance station in Cromwell to serve the Central Otago region. The service uses both paid and volunteer ambulance officers. St John had obtained most of the necessary funding, but there was a $243,000 shortfall in costs.

When local lawyer Doreen Evans learnt of the need to raise additional funds, she approached the Rotary Club of Cromwell and the local Lions club and suggested a joint fundraising project with the support of local tradesmen, businesses, and the community to build a home, with as little cost as possible, and sell it at auction. The aim – to help St John fund the shortfall on the new station build.

“The completed 181sqm three-bedroom, two-bathroom and double garage home was sold at auction on November 26, 2021, for an incredible $1,205,000.”

Doreen gathered a small group of Rotary and Lions superheroes – Craig Lunn, Paula and Richard Jackson, Grant Lunn, Paddy Breen, Syd Dyer and Glenn Vaughan. They shared Doreen’s vision and worked tirelessly for over two years to bring the project together. The group purchased the land, engaged an architect, a bank and an underwriter to ensure there was no risk.

The build was split into four stages with a different builder taking charge of each stage. Many businesses, who would normally be competitors, joined together to provide products and services. Doreen worked hard to ensure that every business involved was recognised. A website (www.Lot47.co.nz) and a Facebook page (Lot 47 Cromwell Community Project) were set up. She also wrote weekly articles for the Cromwell News, keeping the community informed about what businesses were doing on Lot 47.

Building consent was granted on March 3, 2021, the ground broken on March 25, and the foundation poured on May 8, 2021. Breen Construction, who was building the Cromwell Ambulance Station, also helped with the house build, offering several of their skilled labourers to assist in areas that required special expertise.

The completed 181sqm three-bedroom, two-bathroom and double garage home was sold at auction on November 26, 2021, for an incredible $1,205,000.

The $243,000 shortfall for building the station was given to St John and further funds have been earmarked to assist St John purchase and upgrade equipment. Other funds will be used to support the community to undertake health-related courses and maintain health-related equipment. A ‘Topping Scholarship Education Fund’ has been established to assist individuals with their training costs to become health workers.

The remaining $331,436.88 will be shared between the Rotary Club of Cromwell and Cromwell Lions Club with the view of funding a major project.