The onus on what to do with the Old Gulgong Hospital now lies in both the hands of NSW Health Infrastructure and the Gulgong community.
On Wednesday Mid-Western Regional Council unanimously refused the proposed demolition of Old Gulgong Hospital for several reasons. The Gulgong community’s angst about losing a part of their heritage formed the basis for councillors voting to save the site.
Moving a motion to refuse the development application, councillor Paul Cavalier said he could not vote for the old hospital being demolished without being on his conscience that the community wished for it to be retained.
Mr Cavalier also pointed out he was behind a public and social media driven campaign to originally save the Gulgong Hospital when its closure was announced.
“The campaign aired on TV nationally,” Cr Cavalier said.
“Among the discussions, saving the old hospital was not going to be possible and then we [successfully] fought for an MPS (Multi-Purpose Service).”
He admitted his own opinion included “grave concerns” about the old hospital ever being used for anything, and noted that no one had yet come forward showing financial capability of maintaining the building.
Western NSW Local Health District director corporate services, Jeff Morrissey, said yesterday he had not yet been informed of Council’s official decision of the application.
“When we receive that notification and the accompanying minutes from the council meeting we will consider our position further. We look forward to seeing what the community proposes for the building and how it will be funded,” he said.
A report to Wednesday’s Council meeting originally suggested the demolition be approved even though 60 letters and a 700-signature petition had been submitted with calls to save the old hospital.
It also prompted several concerned residents to speak at Council’s open day.
Gulgong’s Agnes Nordmann suggested the old hospital could be repurposed in several stages and it could house exercise classes or community meetings. She said the community were keepers of Gulgong’s history and Council should respect and honour that.
Another speaker, Julie Halloran, said the building was structurally sound and another of its size and nature would be hard to find. Joan Tamburini said there was a similar building at Peak Hill which is being restored.
Gulgong’s Ann Doran asked if councillors had been to the United Kingdom and Europe – about five had – and whether or not they saw the restored historical buildings. She said Gulgong was only beginning this stage.
Mr Cavalier said refusing the development application was not for Council to say what the old hospital should be repurposed for.
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