The Canterbury District Health Board yesterday announced the long-awaited news that construction will start on the new Kaikoura Hospital this month.
Arrow International's Nelson-based team has been awarded the contract to build the centre, with site clearing work, including demolition and minor alterations to the existing hospital building, to start almost immediately.
Health board chief executive David Meates said it was fantastic to be finally announcing the news.
"It signals the end of what's been a long gestation period to get this facility under way and we're very thankful to the people of Kaikoura as well as the district council for both their patience and enthusiasm.
"It's a milestone worth celebrating."
Arrow won the contract because it had both the best price and proven experience in health design and construction, he said.
The new hospital will provide primary, aged, acute and maternity care, radiology services and trauma stabilisation.
Kaikoura Mayor Winston Gray welcomed the news.
"The planning and consultation process has taken several years, during which time the Canterbury quakes came along. We are grateful that we are still able to get a new facility considering the events around us. Now that physical works are to begin it will all become a reality.
"Many people and institutions have put their hands up to support this project. This work is ongoing as we work to raise up to $3.4 million. Thus far a huge effort has been put in across the community and we have over $700,000 raised to date and an energetic band of locals and local business people are continuing this process."
Kaikoura Health Facility Charitable Trust chairman Joe van Rooyen said he was delighted by the news.
"We are very grateful for donations and grants already received but are aware that a great deal of fundraising is still required.
"With construction now under way I am confident that financial support for this superb new facility will continue to grow."
Health board chairman Murray Cleverley said the new centre would be a step towards future-proofing Kaikoura's health services both for its community and as part of being an iconic tourism destination.
A dawn blessing will be held at the Deal St site at 7.15am on Friday, May 23.
- The Marlborough Express
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