Friends of Old Bega Hospital Activities
- A public meeting on 13 January 2013 resolved to establish the Friends of the Old Bega Hospital.
- The Friends of the Old Bega Hospital Inc was incorporated on 18 January 2013.
- This website was established on 22 February 2013.
- A public meeting of the Friends on 24 February 2013 elected an inaugural committee. The committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month.
- The Friends and the Reserve Trust met with the then federal member for Eden-Monaro, the Hon Dr Mike Kelly, on 15 April 2013 to see if the Commonwealth might be able to provide funding to re-roof the main building and get it to a stage where fit-out might begin. The Reserve Trust has been updating information on the likely cost of the work, and the current estimate is of the order of $1m. Dr Kelly suggested a number of options for Commonwealth funding, and they are being pursued by the Reserve Trust.
- The Friends wrote a letter to the responsible NSW Minister, the Hon Andrew Stoner, on 10 September 2013, to ask that the government, in considering and implementing the conclusions and recommendations of a Crown lands review which it is conducting, reconsider its management of the Old Bega Hospital to assure the future of its heritage and community values. The Friends noted that despite specific requests by the Reserve Trust and others, the NSW government has been unable to identify funding to restore the building, conserve its heritage values and put it back into community use; and that the Trustees have access to nothing approaching the financial resources required to restore the main building - something of the order of a million dollars. The Minister replied on 20 November 2013, saying his department was aware of the community's desire to see the site re-opened, and encouraging the Reserve Trust to find the money.
- In November 2013 the Bega Valley Shire Council considered a recommendation from its staff to re-zone the Old Bega Hospital site from special purposes to private recreation. The rationale stated was that because no special purpose had been identified in the relevant planning documents, no development of the site could be approved by Council, so a new zoning was required; and that private recreation provided for the greatest range of possible uses. Neither the Trust nor the land owners (Crown lands) had been consulted. The President of the Friends in his personal capacity (there not having been enough time to convene a meeting of the Friends) addressed Council to ask that the land be zoned public recreation instead, in keeping with its public ownership and the desire that it continue to be used for community, rather than private, purposes. Council voted 7 - nil to seek rezoning as private recreation.
- On 13 December 2013 the Friends met with Andrew Constance, MP for Bega in the NSW parliament. Andrew noted that the Treasury Managed Fund has the function of providing funding for uninsured events affecting government property and said he would pursue that in relation to the Old Bega Hospital. He noted our suggestion that the Community Building Partnerships Program might include funding for one or two large projects in each round. Neither he nor we were able to fathom what Council and Crown Lands were up to regarding the site. The Mayor had been heard on radio saying that Council had been approached to take over the trusteeship of the Reserve, while the reasons behind Council's move to rezone the site were not known, but were thought perhaps to be related to a possible move of the Bega tourist information centre from the Bega Cheese site to the Old Hospital site. Crown Lands has reappointed the current trustees for a period of 12 months, but 'hope' that they will not be required for more than 6 months. The reasons for that 'hope' were not conveyed to the trustees. Andrew said he would arrange a meeting with Council and would seek advice from Crown Lands. In the event, the trustees were appointed for a full 5 year period, expiring on 12 December 2019.
- The first annual general meeting of the Friends was held on 17 December 2013. It adopted a set of objectives and a revised constitution, and appointed a new committee. The objectives and new constitution came into effect when they were registered. AGMs have been held each year since.
- A Raise the Roof Spring Fair was held on 25 October 2015. The festivities attracted several hundred visitors, including Andrew Constance, state MP for Bega, Peter Hendy, then federal MP for Eden-Monaro, Michael Britten, then Mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council, and Dr Mike Kelly, then former member for Eden-Monaro and Patron of the Friends. The day was sponsored by Bega Cheese, Bega Valley Shire Council and RD Miller. Organising was done by a subcommittee, with many hours of work put in and with help from many people outside of the Friends.
- A second Raise the Roof spring fair was held on 30 October 2016 and a third on 29 October 2017, and again were a success in raising awareness, support and funds. The next Spring Fair is set for Sunday 30 September 2018.
- The Friends have also been running an annual trivia night in winter, and a raffle over the summer months.
You can keep up to date with activities by subscribing to the emailed Newsletter.
A principal activity of the Friends is to raise money for repair of the Old Hospital as an indicator of strong community support for the project. The Old Bega Hospital Reserve Trust actively solicits grants from government and non government sources.
The Reserve Trust is not able to accept tax deductible contributions (because all of its assets would go to the NSW government if it was wound up). Nor at this stage are the Friends - see the first newsletter for a discussion of the impediments. While the Minister has indicated that there is no current plan to sell the site, it could be sold at any time. Given the current (early 2018) uncertainty about local and state government intentions for the future of the site, it seems unlikely that the community would commit substantial private funding to restore the building at this stage.
Much money will be required. The Reserve Trust has prepared estimates for the roof work, for the remainder of the exterior work required to get the building to lockup stage, particularly windows to match the heritage character of the exterior, and then for internal fitout, including floors, doors, walls, electrical, plumbing, draining, fire, heating, cooling and other services. To get the roof on, repair windows and doors to make the building safe and watertight and put in a basic floor, is likely to cost of the order of $1m. The total including internal repairs and fitout to cover both heritage and current standards is likely to be about three million dollars - it is a substantial building. The Friends hope volunteer community effort will assist building work once major works are complete.
So contributions are most welcome. Anyone who feels they may be able to make a significant contribution at some stage, either financially or by provision of materials or services, would be welcome to discuss it with either or both the Friends or the Trust. Contact us.
The donation form includes details of the Friends bank account. As donations are not tax deductible, receipts will be issued only on request. If you do not require a receipt, donations can be made direct into the bank account without using the form.