Wreckers finally set to be called in to demolish old Orange hospital

COMING DOWN: Orange and District Historical Society vice-president Euan Greer at the soon-to-be demolished hospital site. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

COMING DOWN: Orange and District Historical Society vice-president Euan Greer at the soon-to-be demolished hospital site. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

One of Orange’s most important sites, but biggest eyesores, is finally to be demolished.

Orange City Council will vote on Tuesday night to call in the wreckers to pull down all the old base hospital buildings, except for the historic ambulance station site.

Under the development application to go before council the old ward tower block would be gutted. However if there is no interest in re-using it from developers, it too would be demolished.

Demolition will cost $2 million, funded to council by the State Government.

Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond said that once approved the demolition would swiftly go to tender.

“It’s expected that council would be in position to consider awarding a tender by December or early in the new year, and that work would begin soon afterwards. Weather permitting, a demolition project of this scale could take at least 12 months,” Mr Redmond said.

“At the same time as demolition gets underway, it’s proposed that council would begin the process of seeking expressions of interest from the market in developing the entire precinct including the tower block. That process would continue as the demolition proceeds.

“The future development of this block will set the tone for housing in this area of Orange for many years to come, so it’s important to give the market the time it needs to consider options for the site.”

About a dozen residences and professional offices fronting the hospital site in Dalton Street will be affected by noise. Crushing of concrete, bricks and masonry would be done on site.

The demolition would be carried out in nine stages, employ 10 workers and generate about 24 daily movements of trucks every day during peak hour.

Orange and District Historical Society vice-president Euan Greer called for interpretative signage and history plaques in the re-development of the site.

“There is a lot of emotional attachment to the hospital. All the births, the life and death struggles that went on. If everything is razed apart from the ambulance station some sort of interpretative displays should be provided.”

Council chair of planning and development, Cr Russell Turner said: “Once we demolish it we will get a better idea of the size of it. It’s a whole block. We hope that there will be strong interest in redevelopment of the tower block.” And he backed the call for historic signage.

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