Health centre nearing completion

Wanaka's new community health centre should open before the ski season, with contractor Naylor Love on track to complete the multimillion-dollar building on Cardrona Valley Rd by mid-June, 13 months after the first sod was turned.

The community health centre has been built with private funds for between $7 million and $8 million and represents the kind of integrated model being promoted by the Government for small communities.

However, planning for Wanaka had been under way before "integrated healthcare" became a buzzword, Aspiring Medical Centre spokesman Dr Simon Brebner said.

"We are country folks who just got in and did it," Dr Brebner said.

The development partners are Wanaka Physiotherapy, Wanaka Medical Centre and Aspiring Medical Centre, which were experiencing a squeeze on premises because of population growth.

Tenancy agreements have been signed to provide pharmacy, optometry, radiology and chiropractic services and other space is still available.

Visiting specialists from Dunedin will be provided with consulting space.

Wanaka Medical Centre spokesman Dr Andrew McLeod said the 1900sq m centre was big enough for the foreseeable future.

"Because it is a private venture, we have no ability to be profligate with extra space," he said.

No capital funding was provided by the Government or the district health board, but the board helped fund a feasibility study.

Community groups are assisting with a proposed helipad, which will need a separate resource consent.

Maltby Ltd quantity surveyor and project manager Tony Dawson said completion was scheduled for June 13, but the centre's doors might not open until a week or two later.

The Christchurch earthquakes did not seriously delay building supplies, he said.

Wanaka Physiotherapy spokesman Dan Rutledge said he was pleased the building was on schedule.

He was now working on details such colours and signs, which were surprisingly time-consuming, he said.

"Like any project, as it gets to the end, suddenly all the other projects you've known about for months come in ... You can't stop the ball rolling."

The centres will retain their independence but from May 1 will combine on-call, after-hours services.


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