Cabonne Council abandons medical centre project

The Eugowra Medical Centre.
The Eugowra Medical Centre.

Cabonne Shire Council is abandoning refurbishment of the Eugowra Medical Centre but will continue working with the centre and Eugowra community to provide "suitable medical services to the community".

At its meeting on September 28 the council voted to abandon the project at the centre in Nanima Street after already incurring project development costs of $23,702.93.

In 2020 Cabonne Council was notified of a successful grant funding application for $124,000 under Building Better Regions Fund Grant to refurbish the centre.

Cabonne Council was to contribute $94,000 and Eugowra Medical Centre Committee $30,000 for a total of $248,000.

Subsequently the lowest tender for the project came back at $397,427, which was $187,247 above the construction budget.

In a report to the September 28 Council meeting, general manager Bradley Byrnes said consultation was held with the Eugowra Medical Centre Committee on June 2, 2021, where alternatives were discussed to deliver the project with a reduced scope of works.

"These alternatives were still approximated to be more than the available construction budget but were less than the tender value received," he said.

"The Eugowra Medical Centre Committee suggested an alternative scope to establish a new greenfield build rather than refurbishment of the existing building.

"It was suggested that the original project budget, in addition to the probable sale revenue from sale of 47 Nanima Street would provide sufficient capital to construct a new medical centre facility," Mr Byrnes said.

Unfortunately for Cabonne and the parties the alternative put forward for a greenfield build is well outside the scope of the funding deed for the Building Better Regions Funding.

"Discussions were held with the funding body with regards to the suggestion. In these discussions, the funding body advised that the change in scope to construct a new build would not be supported," Mr Byrnes said.

"Considering the value of the grant, and the inability to revise the scope to address the key stakeholders objectives, it is considered appropriate to abandon the project and finalise the Building Better Regions funding agreement," he said.

Despite the move Cabonne Shire deputy general manager Matthew Christensen said conversations between Council staff and the Eugowra Medical Centre have been positive in regards to future pursuits.

"Advice of the status of funding has been forwarded to the Eugowra Medical Centre Committee, whom have expressed disappointment, but agree with the approach to abandon the project," Cabonne General manager Bradley Byrnes said.

While agreeing to "abandon" the project council agreed to make an addition to its original recommendation, suggested by Cr Jenny Weaver that it work with Eugowra Medical Centre and the community to pursue other opportunities and resources to provide suitable medical services to the Eugowra community.

Mr Byrnes added council wants to work with the Rural Doctors Network on what facility would be best for Eugowra.

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