There are a lot of exciting things going on in the local health sector, which will become clearer in the next few weeks.Sophie Ashton
DEVELOPERS of a health hub in Goulburn are on track to open the project’s first stage by the end of this year.
Construction of the overall $15 million facility at Bradfordville has been underway for the past year.
Sophie Ashton, a former Barclay’s banker, and father Wal, are completing the project under family superannuation company, Cullingral Pty Ltd.
Ms Ashton said the building was looking “very impressive.”
“We’re very happy with the architects and the builders and we’re set to open with the construction and fit-out complete by October,” she said.
The facility is a work in progress, with stage two hanging on land rezoning.
An allied health centre, dental practice and cafe will be open by late October. The company is finalising discussions with the Bradfordville Shopping Centre’s pharmacist to relocate by the end of the year.
Pathology will be open in the first few weeks of operation but Ms Ashton says it’s important to get the doctors in first.
Mr Ashton told the Post it was notoriously difficult to entice professionals to Goulburn.
“People are waiting to see what happens (with the project) but now we are getting the throw through,” he said.
“When we open for business over the next 18 months we will have to get the (practitioners) in and they must be people who fit.”
The existing building includes a hydrotherapy pool, eight doctors’ rooms, treatment rooms, a rehabilitation area, physiotherapy hydrotherapy pool, audiology and amenities. Outside, there are 94 car parks.
Locals on job
LOCAL builders ARW Multigroup is constructing the building. Other locals including Divalls, Goulburn plumbing, Chris Rowlands Landscaping and Michael Bligh have also worked on the project.
Stage one is worth $7 million, sits on 1800 square metres and is estimated to employ 50 people. Mr Ashton said the company had funded the infrastructure.
His daughter says there’s a long way to go but she’s buoyant about the future.
”There are a lot of exciting things going on in the local health sector, which will become clearer in the next few weeks,” she said.
”It will mean that this could become a reality sooner rather than later.”
She could not say what those changes were at this stage.
However the development’s stage two is opening up possibilities beyond their original vision if the rezoning application is successful.
The existing industrial zoning does not allow day surgery, for example.
Ms Ashton said opthalmology and orthopaedics, which they hoped to include, sometimes required overnight stays which the zoning currently didn’t allow.
“Our vision for the health hub included other things that required rezoning,” Ms Ashton said.
“We have not fully progressed it. We floated a hospital, physical and mental rehabilitation and oncology as well.
“We’ve researched all of this but we’ll be speaking to different operators to see where the interest lies.”
The company is negotiating with a major financier to partner on stage two.
For now it’s a waiting game on the rezoning but Ms Ashton says the signs are positive.
Council’s draft Employment Lands Strategy has recommended the change and she understood the rezoning application would be timed to coincide with lodgement of the Strategy’s final version.
A COUNCIL commissioned employment strategy has revealed what many long argued.
That is that the city currently has enough industrial land and demand for health services will rise.
“Goulburn Mulwaree, like many other areas, is moving towards a more service based economy and coupled with an ageing population there is demand for increased health services,” the HillPDA Consulting document stated.
They predict the over 65 age group will grow by 77 per cent by 2031 but the working age cohort (15 to 65) by just 15pc over the same period. Goulbun Mulwaree’s overall population will rise to 33,550 by 2031.
The health care and social assistance sector was the largest employer with 334 people, or 15pc of the population in 2011. The consultants expected this, the retail trade and public administration and safety to employ more as the area moved to a more “service-related” economy.
The council area has “affordable and stable” industrial land and with 342 lots or 4,178 hectares currently available, is enough to meet needs.
But to cater for future opportunities, the authors recommended future industrial rezoning in several areas.
They included at South Goulburn to the south of Tait Crescent, at the southern end of the rail yards, around the saleyards and woolstores, judged to be “under-utilised,” at Murrays Flat, Marulan and Tarago. The latter holds 72pc of Goulburn Mulwaree’s heavy industrial land.
The draft strategy also considers many other areas of employment, how they will grow and ways Council can plan for them.
This includes retail, the B6 enterprise corridor zone, tourism and the growing motor-sport industry.
The council will place the document on public exhibition for five weeks.