IT’S a remarkable sum.
Bright townsfolk, who number a little over 2000, have pledged $800,000 towards the redevelopment of their hospital.
But there’s no guarantee the Alpine town will soon see work start on, initially, a group of high-level aged care beds.
Member for Benalla Bill Sykes welcomed the financial support but could not say how the $800,000 would influence Victorian Health Minister David Davis who is being lobbied ahead of next year’s budget.
“I expected when they said they would put some sort of pledges together they might get $50,000 to $100,000,” Dr Sykes said.
“I was absolutely overwhelmed when I saw they got $800,000.
“I can’t put a figure on (the chances of funding in the 2014-15 budget) other than to say it’s the highest priority in my electorate in the health area and I will be giving it my best shot.”
Bruce McDonald, chairman of the community committee for the redevelopment, said the $800,000 involved significant contributions from the hospital op shop and the Rotary Club of Bright, which has given $100,000.
He said an application had been sent to the minister for $150,000 to be spent on a feasibility plan.
“We want a high-level aged care facility — we don’t have that in Bright,” he said.
At present Bright has a nine-bed Alpine Health hospital “which at times is barely adequate” and 40 low-level aged care beds.
“If people need a high-care aged service, that’s not available in their home,” he said.
“Bright people have to go to another town.”
Mr McDonald said the campaign for a new hospital, which has its origins in the formation of Alpine Health in 1996, had been tough.
“It’s a frustrating thing and it’s very difficult when you can’t put any positive signs back to the community,” Mr McDonald said.