Medical centre project gets financial boost

A proposed new medical centre for Twizel has got a major funding boost thanks to last weekend's Wings, Wheels and Water Festival.

Organising chairwoman Jenny Pullen said the car, boat and air show event at Twizel on Saturday drew more than 4000 and raised about $13,500.

Some of the proceeds went to initiatives such as the local Land Search and Rescue and Coastguard team, but the majority went to the centre.

"We're really pleased we were able to give what we could," she said. "It's always a bit of a catch-22, as you have to cover expenses, but you still have to make it affordable for families. We thought the ticket prices were on the cheap side."

Tickets were $10 for an adult, $5 for children and $25 for a family pass of two adults and two children.

High Country Health chairman Simon Williamson said various events, including bingo nights and the Twizel ball, had already raised about $6000 towards the centre.

"But we're in the process of putting together a blueprint for the centre, and we have a location in mind. The district council have offered to assist where they can," Mr Williamson said.

Plans to fundraise for the new centre had been in limbo until earlier this year, after talks between the Mackenzie Medical Trust and High Country Health (HCH), the commercial wing of the trust, stalled. The HCH board has asked for the trust to transfer its shareholdings.

But Mr Williamson said the newly appointed members of the Mackenzie Medical Trust were on the same page as HCH.

"We all seem to want to do the same thing now, so it's a matter of going to various funding agencies," he said.

Other upcoming events, such as quiz nights, the Hard Labour endurance event and the "wearable creations" contest in November, would also help the cause.

The plan is to replace the present premises, an old Ministry of Works building, with a purpose-built facility featuring four patient rooms, and space for clinics. Currently, there are more than 1400 people registered on the centre's books, with service demand doubling over the Christmas holidays.

The project is expected to cost $1 million.

The Timaru Herald