25 October 2019

Constance assures Old Old Bega Hospital that money is on the way

| Ian Campbell
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Val Little and Gordon Beattie, Friends of the Old Bega Hospital. Photo: Ian Campbell

Val Little and Gordon Beattie, Friends of the Old Bega Hospital. Photo: Ian Campbell

Those keen to get going on the restoration of the Old Old Bega Hospital are getting impatient and are keen to see the money announced during the NSW Election earlier this year deposited into their bank account.

The building dates back to 1888 and was further developed in 1904 and 1908. Fire had a go at destroying the grand old lady in 2004, but the main brick structure itself remains. A number of separate and undamaged buildings continue to serve the community and have a long and continuous history with local craft and art groups, amateur beekeepers, the Bega Men’s Shed, and Bega’s community radio station.

“It’s such a strong orginal building that the 16 original chimneys are still standing,” marvels Val Little from Friends of the Old Bega Hospital.

The main structure of Old Bega Hospital has been unusable since a fire in 2004. Photo: Elka Wood

Val’s group cheered when the Member of Bega, Andrew Constance announced $3 million dollars for the restoration of the building in March, but are frustrated that not much seems to have happened since.

“All of the paperwork is done and is in, we are sitting now and waiting in great anticipation that it [the grant] is going to come through,” says Gordon Beattie from Friends of the Old Bega Hospital

“It’s our job to replace this community and cultural centre – there about 30 spaces that will be available,” Val says.

With a real sense of duty to see this building thrive again, Val says “We are not going to go away, but we do get frustrated.”

Tomorrow (October 27) will see the Friends host their fifth ‘Raise the Roof Spring Fair‘ in the grounds of the historic site south of Bega, raising money for the restoration.

“We understand government, you can’t do these things in a hurry, but we do get a little frustrated when we see two big stadiums being built in Sydney,” Val says.

Gordon says the group is increasingly restless and fears that the apparent lack of action suggests the $3 million grant is in jeopardy.

“If this falls over it’s not going to be a good look,” he says.

Responding to questions from Region Media, Andrew Constance says, “The NSW Government has reserved $3 million for the Old Bega Hospital Reserve Trust’s, Old Bega Hospital restoration project.”

“Administrative and funding arrangements are in the process of being confirmed for this important community project.

“I hope that we could look to finalise these arrangements before the New Year and get the project underway.”

In the meantime, the fundraising goes on with a focus on this Sunday’s event which includes the ever-popular dog high jump. The Old Bega Hospital is on Corkhill Place, south of the CBD and shouldn’t be confused with the more recent old Bega and District Hospital on McKee Drive.

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