500-car parking facility for health precinct

The Southern District Health Board has unveiled a master plan for a central city health and education precinct which includes a 500-vehicle parking facility and a replacement for parts of Wakari Hospital.

Chief executive Chris Fleming yesterday unveiled the plan, called Te Whakaari, which sets out a vision for a medical and learning precinct centred around the new Dunedin Hospital, running until 2080.

Mr Fleming said the DHB worked with local runaka and tertiary institutions to develop a plan that would enhance Dunedin’s city centre.

"Along with our new hospital, it will offer green spaces, additional healthcare services, and vibrant retail," Mr Fleming said.

The hub would occupy much of the Dunedin CBD area between the current hospital and Lower Stuart St.

The precinct design features three phases of development: short-term (until 2030), medium-term (until 2040) and long-term (until 2080).

The short-term plan includes a 500-vehicle parking facility also suitable for electric vehicles and bicycles, the development of an interprofessional learning centre for student learning, and a translational research centre.

The medium-term plan includes a mental health facility on the current Dunedin Hospital site which could deliver some of the services currently offered from Wakari.

Mr Fleming said the DHB was working on plans to improve facilities at Wakari and believed it was a better location for long-stay inpatient services.

However, the master plan included an option of moving the provision of some inpatient and outpatient services to the new precinct.

These services were currently provided from both Wakari and the existing Dunedin Hospital.

The current Children’s Pavilion could eventually be demolished after 2030 to accommodate inpatient mental health services.

"In time, these could be followed by the addition and potential consolidation of outpatient, community and management services portion of the service that are currently located at Dunedin and Wakari hospitals and elsewhere in the city.

The medium-term plan also includes the Southern Blood and Cancer Services moving south of the New Dunedin Hospital, where it could be a comprehensive standalone centre.

Additionally, the historic Dairy Building, retained while the rest of the Cadbury buildings were demolished, could be repurposed as a cancer support centre and/or health rehabilitation centre.

The long-term plan allows room for the development of future services.

Mr Fleming said the master plan supported the Dunedin City Council’s central city plan, with the health and education precinct providing a link between the tertiary precinct to the north and the cultural and entertainment quarter to the south.

"It will also strengthen the hospital’s existing bonds with local runaka, the University of Otago, and Otago Polytechnic," Mr Fleming says.

University of Otago chief operating officer Stephen Willis said it supported the DHB’s plans, which integrated its own plans for a health precinct released last year.

"Both plans now set a course and a strong vision for the future of healthcare and education in this quarter of the city, truly a ‘Health Precinct’.

"It is hoped that these aligned visions will give rise to greater investment in the industry in the precinct and put Dunedin on the map as a key centre of health excellence," Mr Willis said.

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