Old Bega Hospital Restoration Documentation

The Old Bega Hospital fire was on 2 May 2004.

On 6 May 2004 the NSW government said (Parliamentary Question) it would be there to help.

By 31 May 2005 the Trust had discussed demolition work requirements with an architect, Michael Marshman, and Council's heritage adviser, Pip Giovanelli, and a quote for the work had been obtained.

In June 2005 a tender to undertake selective demolition was let to John Troy. Funding was available from the Department of Lands.

A meeting on 16 June 2005 included the architect, the engineer, council planner, heritage adviser and the Trust. The report of that meeting includes:

Demolition work was completed by 13 October 2005, and a report on a site visit that day recommended:

Another report on the same meeting on 13 October 2005 noted:

Complete roof construction: Andrew Marshman and Pip Giovanelli outlined the correct sequence for complete roof construction as:

  1. correcting damage to brickwork at plate level
  2. placement of trusses
  3. fixing facia boards and painting
  4. fixing barge boards
  5. fixing gutter and downspouts
  6. cladding and flashing roofing metal.

We should be prepared to accomplish all these steps as one ongoing job with minimum interruptions and delays.

Additional structural detail was suggested on 26 February 2006.

On 3 March 2006 the Trust entered into an agreement with Michael Marshman Architects to work on plans for restoration of the roof.

The first quantity survey by BMT & Associates was dated 10 April 2006. It was for the roof restoration only. On 12 April the architect wrote to the quantity surveyors and requested additional material be included. A revised quantity survey report for the roof was dated 21 April 2006. It estimated the cost for the roof restoration, excluding a list of exclusions but including GST, would be $193,694 (518 square metres @ $374 per square metre) and construction would take 12 weeks.

A meeting was held on site on 19 July 2006. Both the Trust and the architect kept records. The heritage adviser advised and it was agreed:

The architect drew up plans:

The plans were submitted to Council with a development application on 23 August 2006. Development Consent and a Construction Certificate were issued on 12 December 2006. Stamped copies of plans:

Applicable fees for the DA were subsequently reimbursed to the Trust. In 2012 Michael Marshman advised he still had the 2006 plans on file.

A valuation by Caddey Searl & Jarman was completed on 30 May 2006. It was not a market valuation. It:

On 19 December 2006 a request for expressions of interest from builders was advertised.

On 16 January 2007 the architect advised the Trust on expressions of interest received and dispatched letters inviting tenders, attaching the tender documentation (which includes both generic and project specific conditions). On 10 January 2007 the Trust advised the architect that the expressions of interest were acceptable and advised some additional matters to be included in the scope of works. There was some urgency because of a forthcoming election.

On 19 February 2007 the architect advised the Trust the outcome of the tender process. One tender was received, from Trinder Alpine. On 23 February 2007 the Trust advised the architect that the Trinder Alpine tender was acceptable.

Funding was not forthcoming, the DA was withdrawn and the tender from Trinder Alpine was not proceeded with.

In 2008, in reply to another Parliamentary Question, the Government said PRMF funds were not available to rebuild the Hospital, it was looking at 'alternative strategies' and it didn't intend to demolish the building. Planning went pretty much into abeyance until 2012.

On 20 August 2012 the Trust accepted a quote from Andrew Marshman, engineer, to reassess the structural integrity of the building. The Trust wrote to the engineer on 14 October 2012 to outline questions it had.

The engineer inspected the building on 2 November 2012 and recommended some immediate work to protect the structure. That work was done by 8 November 2012. The engineer also recommended further structural work be planned, in preparation for reconstruction of the roof.

The quote from Trinder Alpine for restoration of the roof was updated on 25 October 2012, to $396,989.40.

On 21 February 2013 consideration was being given to doing the roof work in stages and the plans were annotated accordingly. The heritage adviser added notes:

In 2014 the Trust sought updated quantity surveys, based on the 2006 architect plans. Initially the Trust started to make its own informal estimates, given that there was no immediate prospect of funding, taking the quote for the roof as the first step. Additional estimates were made for:

Many of these estimates are incomplete, e.g. exclude labour. Having taken the informal approach as far as it could, and following consultation with Crown Lands, the Trust resolved to formally update the 2006 quantity survey for the roof, and get a quantity survey for the full project:

On the basis of the quantity survey for the roof, on 18 August 2014 Michael Marshman quoted for architect fees, tender administration, contract documentation, project management and council applications for the roof.

Trinder Alpine again updated its quotation for restoration of the roof, on 23 September 2014, to $438,361, including GST.

In September 2014 the Friends of the Old Bega Hospital prepared a Strategic Plan for an Old Bega Hospital Regional Centre, to develop a centre for our regionís identity. A place where we celebrate our past, nurture our community and dream about our future.

That plan was the basis for approaches for support from Council, the State member of Parliament (the Hon Andrew Constance MP), the Federal member of Parliament (Dr Peter Hendy MP), the Bega Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Regional Development Australia. All were supportive within their capacities. Dr Hendy emphasised the importance of Council support in getting National Stronger Regions Funding. Council included the Old Bega Hospital in its strategic plans, and wrote a letter of support to Dr Hendy.

The Trust applied for $500,000 for the roof restoration in the 2014 round of the Public Reserves Management Fund. That application was not successful, but was referred elsewhere in government for further consideration. In January 2015, Mr Constance provided the Friends of the Old Bega Hospital with a letter from the Deputy Premier offering a grant of $500,000 subject to conditions including that the Friends secure funding from other sources, including the Commonwealth, to undertake the full restoration with an estimated value of $2.24m.

The Reserve Trust subsequently negotiated and entered into a deed of agreement with the NSW Department of Trade and Investment regarding the funding. That agreement specifies that work must start by 31 October 2016.

The Trust proceeded to seek sources of the funding required. The plan was to secure an additional $1m from non-Commonwealth sources, and then seek to get total non-Commonwealth funding of $1.5m matched through the Commonwealth's National Stronger Regions Fund, NSRF, to provide $3m for the reconstruction.

The Trust also began to seek funding for updating of the Nurses Quarters, the second biggest building on the site, which was not damaged in the 2004 fire, but had not been updated since the 1988 restoration work. It required its roof to be resheeted, as well as around $200,000 worth of other work. A quantity survey was commissioned and PRMF funding was sought in 2015. PRMF funds of $32,500 were granted. The Trust partially matched the PRMF funding through the Commonwealth Stronger Communities Program (SCP), with a grant of the maximum allowed $20,000 (including GST), through a project to provide upgraded and disabled toilets in the Nurses Quarters and the fire damaged main building. The combined PRMF/SCP project was completed in 2017.

The Trust sought $40,000 from the Community Building Partnership Program for re-sheeting of the roof of the Nurses Quarters and insulation of the ceiling. The application was not successful.

The Trust applied for a NSW Clubs grant of $217,500, being the estimated total cost of $250,000 for the Nurses Quarters work, less the $32,500 PRMF grant. That application was not successful.

The Trust had an oral offer of $100,000 from a private donor as a community contribution to the work, if all the other funding required could be found, i.e. along the same lines as the NSW offer of $500,000. The Trust approached the National Trust to conduct a tax deductible community appeal, but was advised that the Australian Taxation Office specifically prohibited the National Trust from conducting tax deductible appeals for State owned heritage buildings. The National Trust is the only body enabled under the Income Tax Assessment Act to accept tax deductible donations for heritage buildings. Deductibility is available for other purposes, e.g. the arts, but neither the Friends nor the Trust is an arts body. It is expected that user groups may be able to get tax deductible donations for community, arts or cultural purposes, but not for reconstruction of the building as such. The Trust's opinion is that it is unlikely to get further substantial community contributions in the absence of tax deductibility, but it continues to seek small contributions and sponsorships.

A Raise the Roof spring festival was held at the Old Hospital in October 2015. It attracted several hundred people and was sponsored by Bega Cheese, RD Miller and the Bega Valley Shire Council, and strongly supported by user groups. Turnover was of the order of $10,000.

The Trust contacted the consultants who prepared NSRF documentation for Cardinia Shire Council's successful application in NSRF round 1 for a community and cultural centre in Victoria. The consultants' fees were of the order of $30,000. The consultants used an 'investment logic map' approach to developing the business case. The Trust looked at that approach as used in Victoria and the ACT and completed an assessment of the options for a business case. On the basis of that assessment the Trust developed a draft business case based on a mix of community and commercial uses of the site, which would meet heritage, community and sustainability objectives. The Trust also developed a more detailed proposal for an Old Bega Hospital Regional Community and Cultural Centre, a draft management plan for the site, and a risk management plan for the project.

In November 2015 the Trust wrote to Mr Constance to suggest that the NSW departments might coordinate to provide a total of $1m so that matching National Stronger Regions Funding might be sought. The relevant departments, given the ownership and heritage value of the site, and the arts and community uses proposed, appeared to be Crown Lands, arts, heritage and community services. Mr Constance wrote to the relevant ministers and as at the end of March 2016 had replies from the Ministers for Primary Industries (re Crown Lands) and Environment and Heritage. They noted the grants programs available, and the Primary Industries Minister suggested the Trust pursue PRMF funding.

Given that it seemed unlikely that coordinated funding would be available from NSW, the Trust wrote to the Deputy Premier in February 2016 to suggest that the conditions of the NSW offer of grant be relaxed to allow a staged renovation. The letter also noted that up-front expenditure would be required to develop the full proposal to ensure that early stage work was consistent with stages to be completed later, and to develop documentation for the NSRF: it had become clear, not least from feedback on Bega Council's unsuccessful NSRF Merimbula airport proposal, that exemplary documentation is required for NSRF success.

As at the end of March 2016 the Deputy Premier had not replied. On the basis that the reply might be either positive or negative, the Trust prepared a PRMF application for the entire amount of additional NSW government funding required, $1m, with activity elements to cover upfront costs of project design and documentation, the roof as a separate element, and the remainder of the project. The PRMF application was not successful. The private donor's offer of $100,000 was withdrawn.

On 4 November 2016 the Hon John Barilaro replied to the Trust's letter to the Deputy Premier. He advised that the conditional offer of grant of $500,000 for the roof would be extended for 12 months, but did not address the request for changes in conditions to allow a staged development.

The Trust discussed with Workability possible interest in running a cafe on the site as a training facility for people with disabilities, along the lines of a cafe in Brisbane. While the idea is attractive, current changes in government funding models to transfer direct funding from service providers to people with disabilities, and the time until the building might be ready for use, means that Workability was unable to say whether they would be in a position to undertake such a project.

The Trust discussed with the developer R D Miller, possible joint marketing of the proposed Community and Cultural Centre and an adjacent proposed industrial development as an arts and industry precinct along the lines of that at Byron Bay. Mr Miller was receptive.

The Bega Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports the proposal. The Trust discussed with the owner of an artists supplies shop in Bega whether her business might operate successfully from the Old Bega Hospital as part of the community and cultural centre. She thought it would, but would not move her current business there as she owns her current premises.

On 24 February 2017, the Trust wrote to the Minister for Lands, the Hon Paul Toole, seeking his assistance in sorting out funding issues, particularly in relation to whether to proceed as a single stage development or a staged development. As at July 2017 the Trust had an interim response from the Department, suggesting the Trust meet with Crown Lands officials. The Trust met with Crown Lands officials in April to discuss the issues.

In June 2017, Crown Lands engaged Public Works Advisory to prepare a report for Crown Lands on reconstruction or redevelopment of the Old Bega Hospital. After many requests, Crown Lands released the PWA report to the Trust on 28 May 2018, noting 'that it isn't representative of any Departmental preference of any of the options put forward'. The Public Works Advisory report (1 Sep 2017, 2MB) outlines options ranging from demolition with or without rebuilding, to stabilise and maintain as a ruin, to reroof, restore and adapt (though well less than a full heritage restoration) at an indicative cost of about $2.5m.

The Trust received $30,000 from the Crown Lands Public Reserves Management Fund in 2017, which enabled resheeting and insulation of the roof of the Nurses' Quarters at a cost of $34,000.

In June 2017, the Trust called for expressions of interest from architects to provide architectural services for design of reconstruction of the Old Bega Hospital as a community and cultural centre. On 26 July 2017, following an initial evaluation of the expressions of interest received, the Trust wrote to Crown Lands to raise a number of issues. Crown Lands advised on 1 September, 'The Crown is currently considering its position in regard to the Old Bega Hospital. At this time the department believes that it may be premature to sign up the services of the Architect'. The Trust contracted Sibling Architecture in Melbourne to prepare a design for repair and reconstruction of the Old Bega Hospital:

In August 2017 the Trust contracted Veris surveyors to survey and draw up a detailed plan of the site: pdf plan, dwg plan, dxf plan, shx plan. Gordon Drafting was engaged in tandem to prepare a measured drawing of the building.

Photos of the internal walls of the building were taken in March 2018 to assist in deciding on whether to conserve or repair the wall finishings.

The Trust wrote a letter to the Minister for Regional Development, John Barilaro MP, on 6 September 2017 to propose a much reduced scope of works for initial reconstruction of the OBH, and to seek a further extension of the offer of grant of $500,000 and relaxation of the conditions to allow the funds to be used for the reduced scope of works. No reply had been received as at mid September 2018. The matter was taken up with the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance.

On 21 September 2018, the Trust submitted an application, including a business case, for a $2.921m grant under the NSW Regional Cultural Fund Round 2. It was for stage one funding, the $3.421m 'bare bones' proposal, less $500,000 for the roof component proposed to be funded by the Barilaro grant: Mr Constance advised that the RCF application should assume the offer of Barilaro funds would be renewed. The Trust sought Crown Lands support for the proposal. Crown Lands replied that it 'had no objection' to it. The Trust sought Council support for the proposal. Council replied, by telephone, that given Council was also applying for RCF funding (for the Regional Gallery) it felt it could not provide a letter of support.

On 14 October 2018 the Trust submitted an application for a $500,000 grant to the Commonwealth Building Better Regions Fund. The application was for matched funding for the proposed RCF grant to allow some items from stage 2 to be constructed with stage 1. It was also a fallback position in case the Barilaro funding was not forthcoming.

Once the relevant plans and reports were compiled, on 15 November 2018 the architects sought Crown Lands consent (as owner) to lodging a development application. Crown Lands advised the Trust on 23 November that NSW Aboriginal Land Council approval would be required before Crown Lands would provide consent because the site was the subject of an Aboriginal land claim. The Trust sought agreement from the NSW ALC and the Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council to lodgement of the DA.

On 21 December 2018, Create NSW advised that the Trust's Regional Cultural Fund application had been unsuccessful. Create NSW provided feedback on its assessment of the application. As the BBRF application was contingent on the RCF funding, it lapsed and was formally withdrawn. The Trust has still not had a reply to its letter of 6 September 2017 to John Barilaro MP re extension of the offer of $500,000 for the roof.

The Reserve Land Manager wrote to the Premier to seek her intervention on 17 January 2019.

On 21 January 2019 Leanne Atkinson announced that if she were elected at the forthcoming State election on 22 March, an incoming Labor government would provide $500,000 emergency funding to put a roof on the Old Bega Hospital.

Last updated 21 January 2019