OUR SAY: About time we found a cure for the old hospital precinct

THIS month marks three years since the Orange Base Hospital closed its doors, so it’s no wonder the derelict site is again being thrust back into the spotlight by an Orange councillor.

Since the council first entered into negotiations with Health Infrastructure (HI) over the site’s future last May details have been scarce.

In January, Orange mayor John Davis assured residents plans to transform the eyesore were just around the corner and would be one of  council’s key priorities of 2014.

But not all councillors share his enthusiasm for entering into a potentially risky partnership to redevelop the site into apartment-style living.

Most will agree with councillor Kevin Duffy’s sentiments that Orange residents own the site, not the government.

But while the community’s attachment to the former hospital may be strong, the government and  council are the ones with control over its future.

STORY: DUFFY GOES OUT ON A LIMB TO TURN OLD HOSPITAL INTO A PARK

Transforming the site into a park is hard to argue against and is likely to be welcomed by many.

But it would also be a lengthy process and a potentially costly venture, with no real avenue of economic return for council.

We know the state government has already factored in the revenue from the sale of the old hospital site into its replacement at Bloomfield, so no doubt they will have a clear price in mind if council really is serious about buying the land for a park.

If the park dream garners support from other councillors, they may call for the state government to give the land to the city.

Although the state of the government’s coffers would make this appear unlikely, there is a proposal on the table to transfer the management of more pieces of crown land across the state to council control.

But even in the unlikely event the council was given the land for free, demolition would be a costly hurdle.

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